Samsung's rumored triple foldable phone could be a game changer — here's how

Samsung Display Flex In and Out Concept
(Image credit: Samsung Display)

We've recently heard a particularly spicy rumor that Samsung could be launching a triple Galaxy foldable design this year. It's exciting that we could be about to witness a rare modern breakthrough in phone design, but putting the hype to one side, what would launching this phone accomplish?

To put things bluntly, smartphone buyers want good products, and companies like Samsung want to make money. And if both parties want to get what they desire in the case of a triple foldable phone, there are a lot of obstacles Samsung will have to overcome. And I really hope Samsung has done its homework, rather than blindly chasing a potential new trend.

A new foldable to herald a new era

Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip line is doing well, and recently saw a mid-sized refresh with the Galaxy Z Flip 5. But while the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is still a very good foldable, it's clear that the Z Fold line is stagnating, changing little between generations while newer devices like the OnePlus Open and Google Pixel Fold push the category forward. The rumors swirling around for the Galaxy Z Fold 6 will hopefully address this, but Samsung likely won't continue to enjoy the by-default dominance that it once did in the foldable phones category.

A triple foldable would be one option for Samsung's mobile division to show it's still on the cutting edge, and draw users back from the newer competition. That goes doubly if, as the rumor suggests, the only other rival capable of making this kind of device is Huawei. The Chinese company doesn't sell products in the U.S. and is blocked from using Google apps. It would give Samsung the same sort of automatic advantage in countries outside of China that it enjoyed with its older foldables a few years ago, even if it didn't get its triple foldable to market first.

Refined the first time around

In fact, I kinda hope Samsung doesn't launch its triple foldable first. New tech like this shouldn't be rushed, even if doing so may give away Samsung first-mover's advantage. The original Galaxy Fold was on sale way before any of Samsung's major rivals launched a foldable phone, but it was very rough around the edges, getting delayed after various engineering issues came to light prior to the phone going on sale.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Samsung's foldable era didn't really get started until the Galaxy Z Fold 2 arrived, which made huge refinements over the original. With this in mind, Samsung ought to keep its new flavor of foldable in the oven for a bit longer so hopefully we can skip over the awkward era entirely.

Besides, there's one other rumored project Samsung should probably focus on first: a cheaper Galaxy Z Fold. This has been rumored for some time too, and will likely do more to reinforce Samsung's footing in the foldables segment than a whole new product. Full-size foldables have cracked issues like performance, battery life and photo quality to a large extent, but what they've yet to prove at all is that they're affordable.

Making sure it's more than just cool tech

On the topic of pricing, that's one of the biggest potential hurdles the alleged Samsung triple foldable would have to overcome. Existing book-style foldables are already the most expensive type of phones, so how much would a new type with an additional hinge cost? Samsung will probably be able to ship a few units to eager early-adopters whatever the price, but it could be hard to get this new device to catch on if it's double the price of a standard flagship phone.

Another key consideration is software. Samsung's already one of the best brands when it comes to empowering basic Android to make use of the larger, flexible inner display of foldable phones. But with two folds, there would likely be even more potential to multitask, and users deserve to have an optimal experience from the start — without having to wait for updates. 

Samsung Galaxy Fold 5

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Then there are all the rest of the features that make up a modern smartphone. Presumably to make room for that second hinge, Samsung would have to make some sacrifices. These will have to be considered carefully, as things like reducing the camera count, slashing the battery capacity or increasing the phone's thickness could easily put people off.

Despite all of the uncertainty around this new design, I hope to be among the first in line to try it, no matter how many hinges it's got. But I hope that if or when a triple foldable emerges, there's a sellable product that phone buyers will actually want. 

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.