Samsung foldable smartphone

Samsung’s official CES 2018 booth wasn’t exactly a magnet for mobile-focused trade show attendees, including a bunch of TVs and related concepts, as well as some fresh experimental C-Lab projects, and a number of laptops, a couple of which borrowed a key feature from the Galaxy Note family.

But the real headliner of the Las Vegas expo may have been showcased behind closed doors, to a select group of “clients” and VIPs. This was most likely a continuation of a prototype privately displayed at the 2017 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, following several rumored strategy changes and release timeline shifts.

The latest ETA is early 2019, although Samsung’s high-ranking officials remain hesitant of committing to a fixed commercial schedule. The final decision regarding the nature of the company’s first flexible smartphone hasn’t even been made yet, but a fold-in or infolding design is reportedly favored over the more challenging fold-out or outfolding method.

If current plans come to pass, you will be able to basically close the 7.3-inch first-generation “Galaxy X” like a book, and use the tablet-sized gadget as a phone, with part of the flexible OLED screen hidden and turned off.

That’s probably the type of design Samsung primarily focused on for this secret CES 2018 demo, although both infolding and outfolding phones were purportedly “unveiled during the meeting”. The latter is “considered a more advanced next-generation technology”, and could hit retail further down the line if certain durability concerns are addressed.

For the time being, let’s hope the fold-in OLED smartphone/tablet hybrid ends up seeing actual daylight over the next year or so, with a “drastic curvature rate” and a more compelling value proposition than the dual-screen ZTE Axon M.

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