Why should a foldable phone be useful

Samsung: Our foldable smartphone is a pocket-sized tablet

D.J. Koh, head of Samsung's mobile division, used the presentation of the Galaxy A9 to speak again about his company's planned foldable smartphone. In an interview with CNET USA late last week, he described a device with multitasking functions that can be used as a tablet and folded into a portable phone.

"If we bring out a foldable phone, it has to be really meaningful to our customers," said Koh. "If the user experience does not meet my expectations, I will not deliver such a product."

He also emphasized that the foldable smartphone will not be a gimmick that "disappears six to nine months after its launch". It will also be offered worldwide, unlike the Galaxy Round with a curved display that Samsung only sold in South Korea.

However, Samsung's first foldable smartphone will be a test bench for the new form factor to see how critics and the market react. The Galaxy Round, with its screen curved towards the center, is the direct forerunner of the Galaxy Note Edge and Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung's first smartphones with rounded displays.

Samsung has been working on a portable device with a foldable display since at least 2013, when it presented a flexible OLED display for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In September, Koh confirmed that Samsung would present the device later this year, possibly as early as December at Samsung's developer conference. A foldable display would be a very important step forward in the smartphone market, which is currently almost exhausted.

However, Samsung is also interested in being the first company in the world to introduce a foldable smartphone. Here, however, it is in competition with Huawei, which also wants to show such a product in November. After the Chinese company recently replaced Apple as the second largest smartphone manufacturer, it is now likely to target Samsung. The title “world's first foldable smartphone” could help Huawei establish its reputation as a trailblazer and draw more attention to its cheaper smartphones. At least in the DxO Mobile benchmark, Huawei has been holding the title of best camera smartphone for several months.

However, Koh doesn't expect foldable smartphones to become a top seller when they launch. "It may be a niche market at launch, but it will definitely expand," added Koh. "I am confident that we need a foldable phone."