Samsung Electronics Co is preparing to unveil its second foldable device early next year, a luxury smartphone that folds down into a compact-sized square.
The South Korean smartphone giant is working on a device with a 6.7-inch inner display that shrinks to a pocketable square when it is folded inward like a clamshell, according to people familiar with the product’s development.
Samsung is seeking to make its second bendable gadget more affordable and thinner than this year’s Galaxy Fold, they said.
However, the launch of the successor device might hinge on how well the Fold performs after its imminent launch, one of the people said, asking not to be identified talking about internal product development.
Samsung is collaborating with US designer Thom Browne on its upcoming foldable phone, endeavoring to appeal to a broader range of consumers that includes those more interested in fashion, status and luxury than a device’s tech specs.
For the techies, it would sport cutting-edge display technology and the nostalgic appeal of rejuvenating the flip phone.
The new foldable phone would have a hole-punch selfie camera at the top of the inner display, just as on the recently released Samsung Galaxy Note 10, according to one person familiar with the device.
On the outside, it would have two cameras that face the rear when the phone is open or the front when it is flipped closed.
“I’m intrigued to see if a manufacturer can deliver a clamshell design that takes the current smartphone footprint and lets you fold in half like a wallet in a similar manner to mobile phones of yesterday such as the iconic Motorola Razr,” CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said. “That’s what the world is probably waiting for.”
Foldable devices have had a difficult beginning, as Huawei Technologies Co (華為) has had to delay its Mate X, Royole Corp (柔宇科技) has left reviewers unimpressed with its FlexPai, and Samsung had an embarrassing design defect that forced it to push back the Galaxy Fold’s release.
All of these companies — along with rivals Xiaomi Corp (小米) and Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀移動), who have released teasers so far — are seeking to be first to crack open what promises to be the next high-growth consumer electronics segment.
The promise of the foldables category is to combine the utility of large-screen portable computers with the ease of smaller smartphones.
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