Samsung to reveal foldable phones

After four years, dozens of rumours, several patents, and one profile pic change, Samsung appears to finally be on the verge of showing off its first folding Galaxy phone.

Background

Samsung is a South Korean multinational conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town , Seoul. It was founded by Lee Byung -chui in 1938 as a trading company.

Analysis

Ahead of its annual Developer Conference on Wednesday, Samsung provided the most concrete evidence that it will be showing off its new folding phone this week. Samsung Mobile updated its Facebook and Twitter profile pics with a folding Samsung logo, which can really only mean one thing: at long last, we’re finally going to get a look at Samsung’s vision of the foldable future. 

The goal is garnering critical feedback as new technologies will require developers to tweak apps to make sure they run smoothly when the phone folds out into tablet form. 

Samsung needs to get the foldable phone right - hoping it will reverse steep declines in profit for its mobile division and restore some of the premium cachet its brand has lost to Apple Inc. 

The move also underscores a new level of caution in product planning after a costly recall for its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 in 2016. 

“Unlike our flagship products, the foldable phone is a completely new concept in terms of design and user experience, which requires a different approach,” said a Samsung official who declined to be identified as details of the phone were not yet public. 

“Before we take it to the market, we want to share with developers what we’ve done so far and see what they think of it,” the official said. 

Foldable phones hold the promise of allowing consumers to do more complex work that would normally be done on a tablet or laptop, but with a device that becomes far more compact. 

The South Korean tech giant is among a handful of firms which have flagged that foldable phones will be coming to market soon. Although it has so far been mum on exactly when, analysts expect a launch date in the first half of 2019 - any later and Samsung would run the risk of new Apple phones stealing its thunder.

The Bell has also chimed in with possible specs of the new device: The main display will reportedly be 7.29 inches with the secondary “outside” display measuring 4.58 inche. 

China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] has also said it is planning to launch a 5G smartphone with a foldable screen in mid-2019.

Both, however, have been pipped to the post by Royole, a Chinese display making start-up, which last week unveiled a foldable phone with a 7.8 inch screen, priced from around $1,300. It said it will start filling orders from late December, although little is known about the firm's projected sales.

Assessment

Our assessment is that the priority for Samsung will be to create some buzz around the new phone as their  mobile division had last week reported a quarterly profit dip by a third. We believe that their mid -range products are squeezed in the competition with Apple. 

We feel that the challenge for Samsung would be to show that the foldable smartphones are commercially viable and to  be able to launch the phone by mid 2019. Else Samsung would run the risk of new Apple phones stealing its thunder.