After the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, reports emerged that Samsung may launch only one flagship model, the Galaxy S8 in 2017 to focus on quality control. A new report from South Korea however, claims that Samsung will also launch the foldable phone dubbed as Galaxy X this year and might manufacture 100,000 units of the device.
Samsung's new foldable phone will have display panels that fold outwards to transform into a 7-inch tablet, a person familiar with the matter told the Korea Herald. It has always been assumed that the screens of the future foldable device would bend inward.
The reason for the design change, according to the source, was Samsung's conclusion that, "Users may find it inconvenient to unfold the phones every time they want to use them. Since the company already secured fold-in phone technology, it was not a big challenge to shift into the fold-out phones."
The source, however, said the final decision of unveiling the Galaxy X will depend on research that the company is conducting about the marketability and profitability of such flexible models. Prior to this, rumours have claimed that Samsung may even unveil two foldable models.
"The final decision will be made after the personnel reshuffle of the company's information technology and mobile communications unit is carried out," the source claimed.
The company's executive-level reshuffle, which normally takes place in December, has been delayed to February-March period as several executives from Samsung, including heir apparent Lee Jae-yong, are currently under scrutiny involving a political scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil.
LG, Samsung's rival, is also expected to manufacture more than 100,000 foldable panels in the fourth quarter of this year for other global clients such as Apple and Huawei. Market research firm Strategy Analytics has predicted that the foldable display market would reach 163 million units by 2022 from 2.7 million units expected in 2017.