Smartphones are now as big as they can be while remaining comfortable held in one hand and fitting easily in a pocket. Bigger screens are always desirable, though, so the only way forward is folding displays. Samsung is now hoping to ship a Galaxy Note phone that folds next year.
And "hope" is the key word there. According to Bloomberg, Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung Electronics' mobile business, said the company is planning a 2018 release for a Galaxy Note device with a bendable display. However, there are "several hurdles" that need to be overcome for that to happen. In other words, there's a good chance it we won't see a folding Galaxy Note in 2018 without some breakthroughs.
Anyone who has been following Samsung's quest to produce a folding phone won't be surprised by this news. We first started seeing folding display prototypes from Samsung in 2013. There was a foldable smartphone patent filed in 2016, and then we were expecting a flexible Samsung phone this year only for that to be delayed. So don't hold your breath for a 2018 release.
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Meanwhile, one rival seems to be making significant progress with its own folding display tech. Lenovo showed off bendable phones and tablet prototypes last year, but then in June this year the company unveiled a bendable concept device followed by a folding tablet that looked quite advanced in July.
Regardless of who ships a folding display first, one of the major hurdles we have yet to see overcome is thickness. All the prototypes we've seen have been quite thick due to the hinge design. It's not just the display that needs to be thin, a very strong yet invisible hinge mechanism also needs to be perfected.