Samsung has been hosting two Unpacked press conferences every year for a few good years now, but things may change soon because the Korean smartphone maker is getting ready to unveil a third flagship phone. That’s the foldable smartphone we’ve been hearing so much about for the last couple of years. Samsung kept pushing back the launch of the innovative new handset, but it just confirmed that the Galaxy F is coming soon. The company did not reveal the name of its foldable smartphone line, but recent rumors claimed it’s going to be called the Galaxy F.
A new report now says that foldable smartphones might be coming even sooner than we expected, which means Samsung would have to unveil the Galaxy F in the coming months to win that “world’s first title” it desperately wants.
In recent weeks, we heard that Huawei is partnering up with Chinese display maker BOA to try to launch the first foldable smartphone in the world before Samsung unveils the Galaxy F. We’ve also heard that other Chinese smartphone makers, including Xiaomi, might be working on foldable smartphone designs of their own.
Then the Galaxy Note 9 Unpacked press conference came, which is where Samsung Mobile CEO DJ Koh told reporters that Samsung still wants to be the first company in the world to launch a foldable handset. The exec did not offer a launch timeframe during interviews that followed the press event, but we all expect foldable phones to hit stores at some point next year.
Now, a Digitimes report looking at the increased competition between Chinese and Korean smartphone makers includes several details about the potential rollout of foldable smartphones. Digitimes says that foldable smartphones are expected to arrive as soon as the second half of 2018, teasing that announcements are imminent. Foldable phones should help smartphone makers offer consumers new reasons to upgrade their devices, with various companies interested in launching such models.
The report notes that 2019 “will be a turning point for the competition between smartphone vendors in China and Korea,” seemingly suggesting that while foldable smartphones may be unveiled this year, they won’t hit stores until next year.
Digitimes says that both Samsung and Huawei are designing devices that will fold inwards, and the companies are going to launch their phones in plenty of international markets. Xiaomi, meanwhile, is making a device that folds outwards — that’s to say the flexible screen will remain on the outside when the handset is folded. The Chinese company will mainly promote foldable smartphones in China.
With all that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Samsung and Huawei unveil their foldable handsets by the end of the year, even if they won’t be available to consumers for several weeks or months after that. And it’s all going to be done for the sake of winning that “world’s first foldable phone” title that each company craves.
Digitimes, of course, doesn’t have a perfect track record at predicting the moves of the mobile market, and the site provides no sources for its claim that foldable smartphones will be unveiled in the second half of 2018. If Digitmes’ prediction isn’t accurate, the Consumer Electronics Show in early January is also a likely venue for foldable phone announcements. That’s assuming Samsung has finalized its first-gen foldable handset by then. The same goes for Huawei and other Samsung rivals that may be interested in launching foldable handsets soon.