Rumor: Samsung’s next foldable will be a clamshell device

Samsung is already working on its next flexible display smartphone, according to speculation from ETNews (machine translated). In an article published yesterday, the website suggested Samsung’s next folding screen device would be a clamshell-style product with an outward-facing, 1-inch display.

The phone would seemingly be more portable than the Galaxy Fold, which functions as a hybrid between phone and tablet. The future foldable is tipped to be about the size of a regular flagship, with its display coming in at around 6.7 inches when unfolded. The Galaxy Fold has a 7.3-inch screen when unfolded and a nearly 4:3 aspect ratio.

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ETNews didn’t say whether the 1-inch screen on the outside would be touch-enabled, but it did say it would offer limited functionality. It might operate something like the always-on displays found on other Samsung phones.

We imagined potential Samsung phones with clamshell designs and flexible screens last year — picture the device on the right but with a screen above/instead of the camera housing.

ETNews said necessary device components may enter mass production in November ahead of a launch in H1 2020. This could occur around April, a year after the Galaxy Fold was originally intended to be released.

Fact or fiction?

Samsung is almost certainly working on another folding smartphone, despite the Galaxy Fold problems it has encountered. Numerous manufacturers have already declared their interest in foldable devices — Samsung is unlikely to duck out of the game after the first generation. In fact, I suspect one of the reasons it aimed to be first to market with the Galaxy Fold was just to try and secure a fanbase for its future folding products.

It may also have decided to make a smaller device rather than a tablet-like device to try and cover more of the market before its competitors do — Xiaomi has already shown-off a concept for a more pocket-friendly foldable.

A Xiaomi foldable phone concept.

With that being said, I’m not convinced Samsung would go the clamshell route for its second generation foldable. Developing this first unit has been a challenge, and if Samsung does finally release the Galaxy Fold, I suspect it will want to iterate on the formula before trying something different (and potentially more difficult).

I expect Samsung to develop a Galaxy Fold 2 that’s a bit thinner, tougher, and better optimized than the original. That’s my prediction for Samsung’s next foldable, what’s yours? Let me know in the comments.

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