A Samsung foldable smartphone could launch next year, say reports

A Samsung concept design video shows a foldable device with a screen on the front and a larger screen, or dual screens, ...
YouTube: IndVideos

A Samsung concept design video shows a foldable device with a screen on the front and a larger screen, or dual screens, inside when unfolded.

Are you sick of your phablet not fitting in your pocket, but still want decent screen real estate so you can watch cat videos in style on your morning commute?

Rumour has it that Samsung, the world's biggest smartphone manufacturer, is testing a product which could have all the answers: a touchscreen smartphone with a foldable display.

And, according to technology blog SamMobile, it could be here a soon as January.

An anonymous source based in China reportedly told SamMobile, which has leaked accurate details of new Samsung products in the past, that Samsung was currently testing such a device under the codename "Project Valley".

The source said the current prototypes had 3GB RAM, a microSD slot and a non-removable battery, as we have seen in the latest iterations of Samsung's flagship Galaxy smartphones.

Samsung is said to be testing the device in two different hardware options: one sporting a Snapdragon 620 processor, the other with a Snapdragon 820 processor.

While the source said the product could be released in January, it may appear first in South Korea only, where the company sometimes chooses to launch new products on limited release so it can test the waters.

"We confirm that this report looks authentic as we have received similar inputs from our trusted and dependable sources," SamMobile said, noting the device was not the Galaxy S7, but something else.

It's unclear from the SamMobile report what the form factor will be; a phablet that folds down to pocket-size, or one that folds out to tablet-size.

Samsung has been filing patents for flexible displays and foldable mobile devices for years, in various guises.

Its most recent patent file, according to Patently Mobile, shows a sleek smartphone that folds in half into the size of a square wallet, while another recent design is somewhat clunkier.

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About a year ago Samsung published a concept video for a foldable mobile device, complete with trite gender stereotypes.

An innovative design like this could give Samsung a much needed edge over competitors, with lacklustre sales in recent months.

It also marks a refreshing change to recent releases from the company, which have sometimes seemed like little more than a game of catch-up with major rival Apple.

Samsung's new Edge devices are an exception, but the all-metal body of last year's standard Samsung Galaxy S6 had some commentators noting its likeness to the iPhone 6.

The two companies have a long and often bitter rivalry, which has often descended into mockery and, at its worst points, billion-dollar lawsuits over alleged patent infringement.

Their stores look remarkably similar, and details tendered in one court case showed a marked difference between Samsung's Galaxy smartphone and tablet designs before and after the release of the iPhone and iPad.

On the other hand, Apple was late to follow Samsung's lead on larger-screen phones and using a stylus.

Ironically, Samsung manufactures some of Apple's product components, including screens, semi-conductors and memory chips.

 - SMH

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