Samsung's troubled foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, is finally on the cusp of a market release. Meanwhile, rumors about a second foldable Samsung smartphone have already started picking up.
Bloomberg reports that Samsung is working on a new smartphone for an early 2020 release. The smartphone features a 6.7-inch display and folds inward into a "compact-sized square". It packs a single hole-punch selfie camera and two more cameras on the outside.
Samsung is reportedly collaborating with fashion designer Thom Browne to make sure that the phone’s design appeals to a broader audience, beyond the tech-savvy ones.
No secondary exterior display?
The Bloomberg report has no mention of an exterior display on Samsung's upcoming foldable smartphone. However, the position of the two rear-facing cameras suggests that it could lack one altogether.
Both the cameras are said to be located on the front-facing half of the phone. They act as the rear cameras only when the device is unfolded. On folding, the two sensors would face the user.
While this doesn't confirm the omission of an exterior display, the fact that the device lacks a rear-facing camera when on folded state somewhat suggests so. Add to that, the device has a smaller footprint and a clamshell-like design, and it folds into an easily pocketable square. So even if Samsung decides to put an exterior display, it could be a minimalist panel meant for notifications only.
Samsung is trying to make the smartphone more affordable and thinner than this year’s Galaxy Fold, the report claims, citing people familiar with the product’s development.
The company is testing ultra-thin bendable glass for the display on its next foldable phone. The panel is said to be only 3-percent the thickness of the glass screen protectors used in today's smartphones. Samsung is also making sure that it leaves no stone unturned in its efforts to avoid any repeat of the Galaxy Fold debacle.
The eventual release of Samsung's next foldable phone, however, will depend on the Galaxy Fold’s market performance. The Galaxy Fold is reportedly releasing in South Korea on September 6, and in the United States on September 27.
Foldable smartphones could be the way forward
The first batch of foldable smartphones, which included Huawei's Mate X, Samsung's Galaxy Fold, and Royole's FlexPai, have all had a difficult start. The Mate X is nowhere near launch despite being unveiled back in February, whereas the FlexPai has left reviewers unimpressed.
Samsung was also forced to push back the Galaxy Fold’s release after reviewers noticed an embarrassing design defect.
However, the true and tested candy bar form factor of the current crop of smartphones is slowly reaching a saturation point, and foldable smartphones promise to bring some excitement back. Foldable devices address the demand for large screens on smartphones while remaining easily portable. Motorola, Xiaomi, Oppo, and a few other OEMs have all been teasing their version of a foldable smartphone. We should see more of them in the coming months.