Details of a prototype Samsung smartphone whose screen can be folded nearly in half surfaced this week as the company appears poised to finally introduce the device early next year.
Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that the prototype, code-named “Winner,” features a larger, seven-inch screen that can be folded like a wallet. The back of the device includes cameras and a small display bar when folded.
The device would feature a single screen, as opposed to current foldable devices with two displays, in an attempt to offer the benefits of a small tablet with the convenient size of a smartphone — and potentially jumpstart a sluggish global smartphone market.
Samsung first showed off a flexible display in 2013, and rumors circulated for years that the Korean tech giant was close to debuting a bendable device on the commercial market. Company officials set a goal of introducing a foldable smartphone this year, according to a 2017 Associated Press report, but acknowledged the date could be pushed back due to technical hurdles.
One potential challenge, sources told the Journal this week, was the possibility of the device overheating due to requirements for a larger battery to power the various displays. Another could be the high cost of the phone’s components, which could drive its overall cost above $1,500.
The sources told the Journal that a small, initial introduction would target specific market segments before a larger rollout toward the end of 2019.