When 2018 opened, sources started to report that Samsung had finally reached the point where their research and development into a foldable smartphone was transitioning over to production. The implication of that being a Samsung foldable phone, tentatively dubbed the Galaxy X by industry watchers, would hit the market as an actual product. Sources also pegged the timeline for this new product as being in late 2018 or early 2019. In a recent interview with CNBC, Samsung CEO DJ Koh revealed that the company does plan to at least announce a new foldable smartphone before the end of 2018.
According to Koh, Samsung is working toward an unveiling in November during the Samsung Developer Conference that will be held in San Francisco. Unlike other devices that may be ready to ship to customers within a couple weeks after their launch date, the foldable Samsung phone may not actually hit the street until 2019 and at a hefty price tag.
Koh also revealed some information about the device. During one point of the interview, Koh says “You can use most of the uses… on foldable status. But when you need to browse or see something, then you may need to unfold it.” That seems to suggest that when folded, users will have access to at least a portion of the screen, perhaps similar to current Always-On type displays but not so limited in functionality.
Koh also discussed challenges in bringing a foldable smartphone to market. One of the big challenges appears to be justifying such a device as a viable consumer product as Koh said, “So every device, every feature, every innovation should have a meaningful message to our end customer. So when the end customer uses it, (they think) ‘wow, this is the reason Samsung made it’.” With that general framework set forth by their CEO, Samsung’s developers have been working to make sure the new device is not a gimmick.