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Here’s why I think a triple-foldable Samsung phone makes sense

Published Feb 18th, 2024 3:12PM EST
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Display
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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I didn’t have triple-fold foldable phones on my bingo card for 2024, but new rumors claim they’re in the works. Two smartphone vendors will reportedly come out with trifold smartphones before the end of the year. Of course, they’re the two companies you’d expect to produce the wildest foldable phones to date: Samsung and Huawei. 

The two fought in the first foldable smartphone wars, with Huawei’s first design trouncing the first-gen Galaxy Z Fold. Since then, Huawei was essentially kicked out of the market following its ban in the US.

Samsung has largely won the foldable market, at least internationally. At least, that was the case until last year, when several Chinese vendors finally began launching foldable phones outside their home market, putting massive pressure on Samsung.

With all that in mind, and considering where the technology is right now, I think a triple-fold Samsung phone makes sense — no matter how over the top it might sound or how much I worry about the integrity of a massive display featuring two hinges.

A leaker who goes by the name of Revegnus on X said that Samsung and Huawei are both going to unveil triple-fold foldables this year. The leaker also provided the first reason why Samsung making a triple-fold device makes sense right now. Samsung can’t afford to miss the “world’s first” title:

Samsung likes to think of itself as the biggest innovator in the foldable industry. That’s because nobody really challenged the Korean giant until last year.

But in early 2023, the likes of Honor, Motorola, Oppo, OnePlus, and Xiaomi all proved alternatives to the Galaxy Z Fold and Flip designs exist and can be better. They forced Samsung to put a larger cover display on the Flip and eliminate that incredibly ugly hinge gap from the Fold design. 

Samsung never had to bother with big design changes for the Flip and Fold before that, always choosing the safe route. The resurgence of Huawei in China is another reason to worry for Samsung. Earlier reports said this year that Samsung is working on a cheaper Galaxy Z Fold 6 model to compete against Honor and Huawei in China and elsewhere. 

Samsung certainly wouldn’t want to have Huawei, or anyone else, launch a triple-fold smartphone before it makes its own Galaxy Z Triple-Fold.

It’s not just about vanity here. Samsung does have an advantage other foldable smartphone vendors don’t. It makes its own foldable displays. It had been making them for years before the first Fold arrived. Some of Samsung’s rivals would also need those foldable OLED panels. Even Apple is looking at Samsung foldable panels for a future foldable device. 

Samsung has demoed its OLED innovations over the years, including foldable displays. We’ve seen concepts that show multi-fold screens, like the Samsung Flex In & Out panel below. 

Therefore, Samsung would be one of the best-positioned smartphone makers to consider making a foldable phone with two hinges and three display components. 

Samsung Flex In & Out
Samsung Flex In & Out multi-foldable display would fit a triple-foldable phone. Image source: Samsung

Also, Samsung has improved the durability of foldable phones in recent years. Foldable phones can still break more easily than traditional ones. But there’s no question that foldable devices are more durable than in the early years. 

I’ll also point out that Samsung has patents teasing a thinner Galaxy Z Fold 6 is in the works. That’s directly tied to durability. You can’t make ultra-thin foldable if the frame and display aren’t durable enough. And if you can make foldables thinner, you could take a risk on triple-foldable designs next.

This brings me to another reason triple-screen foldables make sense: The larger screen gives you a better tablet experience. 

Phones like the Galaxy Z Folds, the Honor Magic Vs, the Pixel Fold, and the OnePlus Open almost become Android tablets when unfolded. But the display aspect ratio isn’t perfect for a tablet. That’s where a triple-fold device could come in handy when you need more screen real estate. 

Finally, there’s the question of revenue. The iPhone crushed Android worldwide last year like never before, according to data from Counterpoint Research. Apple increased the average selling price of the iPhone without launching pricier foldable iPhones. Samsung, Huawei, and others can’t pull off the same trick. 

Triple-foldable devices will surely cost more than the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold phones. They might not sell in similar volume, but they could help drive up revenue. And if other vendors buy Samsung’s triple-foldable OLED panels, that’s another win. And, as a longtime iPhone user, I can’t help but wonder what a triple-fold iPad/iPhone contraption would look like if Apple were to make one. 

That said, we’ll have to wait until July or August to see whether Samsung will indeed launch a triple-lens foldable. That’s when the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Flip 6 will launch. 

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.