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The Galaxy S8 and Note 8 might not even be the best phones Samsung unveils this year

Published Mar 14th, 2017 11:17AM EDT
Samsung Foldable Phone vs. Galaxy S8

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Samsung is reportedly working on a smartphone that will be a step above regular flagship handsets, a device that’ll deliver “luxurious design and high-quality” beyond anything Samsung has done so far, including the unreleased Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. That smartphone should be unveiled officially later this year, according to a new report, although it might not actually hit store shelves until some point in 2018.

Samsung’s unnamed smartphone was apparently showcased to a limited number of partners at MWC 2017, as the South Korean giant is trying to prevent leaks. What’s so special about this device? The screen. According to ETNews’ sources, this is the foldable Samsung handset we’ve heard about in recent rumors.

Samsung seems committed to mass-producing a few thousands units this year, and the company apparently wants to release them to testers and partners in the third quarter. The trial run should help Samsung test the quality and performance of the phone, while simultaneously offering the company a way to test the market ahead of a wider release. Assuming the report is accurate and Samsung sticks to this schedule, we might see the device unveiled at IFA 2017 later this year.

Mass-production should start in 2018 after Samsung gauges demand for such a device. It’s unclear at this time what the first foldable smartphone from Samsung will have to offer other than the foldable OLED display itself. Pricing details also have not been mentioned.

Samsung’s prototype won’t be the only foldable smartphone we’ll see in the near future. Apparently, Samsung is in a race with various Chinese handset makers to become the first company in the world to release a handset with a foldable display. Lenovo, Oppo, and Vivo might be working on foldable phones, the report notes, with the help of local display makers including BOE, Visionox, and AUO. Samsung Display, meanwhile, will obviously provide flexible OLED screens to Samsung for the foldable phone.

Notably absent from the report is Apple. Reports in late 2016 claimed that Apple is also interested in making foldable iPhones. The same ETNews said in mid-December that LG Display is looking to mass-produce foldable screens for a number of partners, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

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.

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