Samsung Electronics is once again developing ‘in-folding’ foldable Smartphones that fold displays inward. While it was working on an ‘out-folding’ Smartphones that fold displays outward, it has converted its project back to ‘in-folding’ task, which was stopped in the past. Some predict that Samsung Electronics is already close to commercializing in-folding foldable Smartphones since it already has significant amount of technologies related to in-folding method. This prediction is gaining more credibility as President Ko Dong-jin, who is in charge of Samsung Electronics’ Smartphone business, recently announced its plan to release foldable Smartphones.
According to industries on the 27th, Samsung Electronics recently restarted developing in-folding foldable Smartphones with Samsung Display and its goal is to implement 3R in curvature of a display. 3R is a number that shows how much a display is bent and it indicates curvature that covers a circle with a radius of 3mm.
According to information from industries, it has been working on foldable Smartphone project since 4 to 5 years ago.
Industries are however interested about the fact that Samsung Electronics recently changed its foldable method that it had been developing for awhile and decided to develop ‘in-folding’ foldable Smartphones.
It is heard that Samsung Electronics was going for in-folding method when it just started developing foldable Smartphones and it had carried out many years of R&D on displays, parts, and materials that are related to in-folding method.
However it suddenly changed its direction of its project towards ‘out-folding’ method. It started developing Smartphones that can be folded outwardly instead of inwardly.
All of these changes in direction of foldable Smartphone project took place just 1 to 2 years ago. Until last year, development of out-folding foldable Smartphones was the biggest task for Samsung Electronics, Samsung Display, and other businesses that were in participating in this project.
Exact reason why Samsung Electronics changed direction of its foldable Smartphone project again is not known. However fact that it switched back to in-folding method, which was its initial project, indicates that it is now at a level where it can start working on a commercialization process of foldable Smartphones.
Foldable Smartphone concept introduced by Samsung Electronics (Picture = screenshot of Samsung Electronics’ YouTube
“Samsung Electronics has been accumulating significant amount of technologies related to in-folding method.” said a representative in this industry. “Fact that it is going to work on a technology that is already developed has totally different meaning than before.” This indicates that Samsung Electronics is basically done with R&D stage and is going to go through commercialization stage.
This kind of interpretation is becoming more amplified as it is interconnected with a statement made by President Ko Dong-jin recently.
“We have established a roadmap for foldable Smartphones and our goal is to release them in 2018.” said President Ko at the Galaxy Note 8 event that was held on the 12th of this month. “We are currently working on few problems and we will release the products once we solve these problems.”
Although he stated obstacles as prerequisites for releasing foldable Smartphones, this is the first time he announced estimated timing of release of foldable Smartphones.” Also level of his statement towards release of foldable Smartphones has gotten higher than before.
“Although we definitely want to release foldable Smartphones, we still need some time because we believe that our current level of technologies will not be able to satisfy consumers.” said President Ko at a meeting for Galaxy Note 7 that took place last year.
Although The Electronic Times directly inquired President Ko about a reason why Samsung Electronics changed the direction of its project back to in-folding method and possible timing of release of foldable Smartphones, he did not give answers.
However a representative for Samsung Electronics said that although Samsung Electronics is in a process of preparing for release of foldable Smartphones, it is still in a development stage of foldable Smartphones.