Samsung's answer to innovation has come in the form of foldable smartphones, which the company plans to launch in 2017. This device, also termed as a "smartlet," is a 5-inch smartphone when folded and becomes a 7-inch tablet when opened or unfolded.
The South Korean company's breakthrough technology is just what the market needs amid the hundreds of near-identical smartphones vying for everyone's attention. A lot of investment has gone into acquiring the latest technology to make this vision possible: for example, the foldable OLED display that allows for the device to be bent.
"Development of Foldable OLED is taking place according to our plan. We are planning on mass production and release of this product by discussing with our partners," Lee Chang-hoon, director of Samsung's Display division, stated at an investors call.
Dubbed as "Project Valley," the foldable smartphones were supposed to hit the market in January. A source familiar with the progress of the smartphone disclosed, "Although mass production cannot be concluded hastily since Samsung Electronics still has few other major tasks to complete, I've heard that Samsung Electronics had made considerable amount of results in the time being."
The device is reportedly in the testing phase and currently comes in two configurations - one using the Snapdragon 620 processor, and another with Snapdragon 820.
The company recently launched their latest Galaxy models, the S7 and the S7 Edge, but there haven't been any major upgrades in terms of looks or specifications. A foldable smartphone, on the other hand, if executed well, can be a game changer and give Samsung a real competitive edge.
A prototype has already been completed and the company is hoping to start mass production from the latter part of this year. The Samsung smartlet should hit the scene by early next year, and it looks like the foldable smartphone-cum-tablet is the next big thing to watch out for.