Even as most tech enthusiasts are going gaga over the Galaxy S7 and its release in 2016 it may just fail to be the highlight from Samsung this year. Industry analysts say the rumoured 'foldable' phone from Samsung for which it has already registered patents could be launched in the second half of this year, most likely by the year-end.
HSBC analysts believe that Samsung is close to creating a foldable smartphone that could arrive in the second half of this year. It will not be the Galaxy S7, however, as it is already slated for a January-February launch this year with mass production of the model also scheduled around the same time.
A company source told Business Korea that the industry believes commercialisation of foldable smartphones will be possible in 2016. The publication reported that in all probability he was referring to Samsung.
The patent design reported this month shows a scrollable tube that can be rolled out by grabbing the tab. The display screen may be OLED or LCD that uses a plastic film, rather than glass.
The patent was filed in the US Patent and Trademark Office in early 2015; a similar patent was filed in South Korea in 2014. This means the product will most likely be released there first before it is rolled out to other markets around the world.
Samsung which has been struggling to boost its sales with its traditional models is keen to use the foldable technology if rightly developed to differentiate its products from competitors. Sales figures have shown that the Galaxy Note Edge with a curved screen and the Galaxy S6 Edge with dual curved edges did phenomenally well, primarily for its innovation on screen design.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal in July 2015, Samsung assumed demand for the devices would be around four to one in favour of the regular S6. But the Edge turned out to be immensely popular and the company reportedly nearly ran out of S6 Edge units.
The Galaxy S7 is also rumoured to have a new innovative concept called pressure-sensitive screen. It is rumoured that the smartphone will be able to tell how hard you are pressing on the screen and react accordingly. The feature is quite similar to Apple's Force Touch.
It is believed that LG too is in the process of developing a foldable phone with rumoured plans of a launch by December 2016.