Samsung showed a prototype of a foldable smartphone to select clients behind the scenes of the 2018 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, The Korea Herald’s Investor reported Friday, citing sources familiar with the move. The demo that took place behind closed doors of the world’s largest annual fair of its kind also saw Samsung mention an approximate production schedule for its first commercial foldable device, with the company supposedly targeting a mass manufacturing cycle starting late this year, possibly in November. That timetable goes against what a number of Samsung executives were saying over the course of 2017 but is in line with the firm’s latest comments on the matter which were indicative of yet another delay of the product rumored to be marketed as the Galaxy X.
The smartphone Samsung showcased to some partners is said to have a 7.3-inch display that folds in half, according to one source. That description is in line with a device patent recently awarded to the company by WIPO which depicted a handset with a panel of a comparable size utilizing something close to an elongated 21:9 aspect ratio and being capable of bending across its center, albeit not in a manner that would have the two sides of the smartphone perfectly parallel with each other once folded. That patent and a number of previous rumors on the matter suggest Samsung is developing what’s essentially a highly revised, cutting-edge take on the concept of a flip phone.
Multiple other insiders cited by the Korean outlet claim Samsung demonstrated at least one prototype that folds inward and another that does so outward during the private CES demo. Only the former is expected to be commercialized approximately a year from now as the outfolding model supposedly suffers from durability issues, with its concept only being planned to be revisited by Samsung in the future, after at least one generation of bendable handsets becomes a commercial reality, according to the same report. Samsung may not have been the only original equipment manufacturer that privately demoed prototypes of foldable devices at CES this week but other phone makers aren’t believed to be as close to being able to mass-produce such offerings as early as the Seoul-based tech giant which already decided on trying to sell them to consumers, whereas many of its rivals are still pondering their commercial viability, as suggested by their previous statements on the matter.