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Samsung said it’s probably planning a foldable smartphone launch this year

They’re still trying to figure out how the unfolded phone will look different from a tablet.

zte foldable phone samsung

Samsung has told CNBC that the company will reveal more about its long-rumored foldable smartphone project later this year. The CEO of the company’s mobile division, DJ Koh, said that “it’s time to deliver” on a foldable device.

Koh gave little away about the new product, which is likely to launch early next year. However, he did note that Samsung was intent to differentiate the phone experience once unfolded versus a tablet.

He explains:

You can use most of the uses … on foldable status. But when you need to browse or see something, then you may need to unfold it. But even unfolded, what kind of benefit does that give compared to the tablet? If the unfolded experience is the same as the tablet, why would they (consumers) buy it?

He continued:

So every device, every feature, every innovation should have a meaningful message to our end customer. So when the end customer uses it, (they think) ‘wow, this is the reason Samsung made it’.

Koh made his comments at last week’s IFA show in Berlin.

Previous rumors have said Samsung’s foldable phone could be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. Codenamed “Winner,” the new phone can be folded in half, much like a wallet. When folded, the exterior of the phone includes a small display bar on the front and cameras on the back.

At first, Samsung plans a modest rollout, targeting specific markets like mobile gamers. However, if the phone takes off, a broader commercial debut would occur later in 2019. The South Korean giant did a similar rollout with its first curved-screen smartphones back in 2014.

Samsung isn’t the only tech company expected to launch a foldable phone in the coming years. Huawei and Apple could also jump into the fray in the coming years.

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