Samsung’s Bixby sidekick may get top billing at the electronic giant’s annual developer conference on Wednesday, but its first foldable phone, rumored to be called the Galaxy F, is poised to steal Bixby’s thunder. If anything, Samsung is priming expectations that the foldable phone will make an appearance, even changing its logo to mimic the shape of a folding phone. But don’t expect a traditional announcement like the company’s big Galaxy S9 and Note 9 unveilings. Instead, brace yourself for a sneak peek at the phone Samsung hopes will be its next big thing.
For Samsung, its foldable phone unveiling comes at a time when the mobile world thirsts for innovation. Apple and Samsung sales are slowing down, and the global handset market is said to be “in recession.” Foldable phones would hurl the wow factor into this stalling space, where even this year’s headliners, from the Galaxy S9 to the iPhone XS, vary only incrementally from 2017’s best models. As much as radical new design would shake up the flagging industry, it also raises questions about the design’s usefulness, and how easily it could stumble into gimmick territory.
Samsung isn’t alone in pursuing a foldable phone. LG and Huawei are developing prototypes of their own, and one brand, Royole, has already come out with the all-plastic FlexPai, which similarly folds up.
“Possibly when we start selling the foldable phone, it may be a niche market, but definitely, it will expand,” Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh told CNET in an October interview. “I’m positive that we do need a foldable phone.”
Samsung Developer Conference 2018: Here’s how to watch “Need” is a strong word for any new device category, but phone-makers and pundits agree on one key benefit: more screen space. A foldable phone essentially doubles your available surface area.