According to Samsung’s CEO DJ Koh, the company is going full speed ahead with foldable phones in 2020. He claimed that they are planning to increase Galaxy Fold sales and added that we will see a lot more foldables next year, with the company unveiling details on a new model “shortly."
Gizmochina reports on Koh's words from the 2019 Samsung AI conference in Seoul, Korea, where he told the audience that “consumers will witness a large number of foldable smartphones next year.” He seems to be referring to both Samsung and other brands. Samsung Electronics is the main manufacturer of flexible OLED panels along with LG, so we can assume Koh has information about projected panel sales and made that comment based on this data.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold clamshell
Samsung had already previewed a clamshell foldable phone last month at its annual developer conference in California. The tease was shown during a presentation of the next revision of the One UI interface — Samsung’s user experience layer that sits atop Android. During that event, Samsung exec Sally Hyesoon Jeong insisted on the Korean company’s commitment to foldable designs.
Our colleague Phillip Michaels — who was at this presentation — reported that the concept animation of the Galaxy clamshell got the biggest reaction from the crowd.
Obviously, Koh’s words are consistent with this message. At the conference, he mentioned that the company plans to boost sales of the $2,000 Galaxy Fold next year, planning to sell 6 million folds globally by 2020.
Koh also said that the company will offer more details about the next foldable phone “shortly.” Since we are already in November, it seems possible that we may see a new model of Galaxy Fold coming at CES 2020.
“Large number of foldables”
It looks like Samsung’s fabled foldable clamshell will not be the first to arrive to the market. The foldable Motorola Razr will hit first. We have already seen the RAZR in both marketing images and in the wild. The phone — which shows a rather thin unfolded body but a prominent chin — is supposed to launch on November 13, just in time for the 2019 holidays.
We know that Xiaomi and Oppo have been playing with this format but there have not been any official announcements. And Apple is — as usual — mum about this space, most probably waiting for the technology to mature before making a move — disregarding the risk of getting beaten to the punch by other brands. It’s probable that Koh knows something we don’t know but, then again, it may all be marketing smoke to put some momentum behind Samsung’s products.
However — aside from the foldable RAZR, the Huawei Mate X, an obscure Chinese phone, and the Microsoft Surface Duo — we are not aware of any other foldable phones coming in 2020. It’s hard to tell what Koh is referring to as “large number of foldables” coming in 2020.