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Here's When Samsung's Foldable Phone Will Debut

Samsung's long-awaited foldable smartphone might finally make its debut in the coming weeks, possibly at this month's Mobile World Congress.

Credit: 2014 Samsung Concept Video

(Image credit: 2014 Samsung Concept Video)

But don't expect a high-profile unveiling for this long-rumored phone, a report from ET News claims. Samsung will reportedly show off a prototype of the device that will be kept in a private room. Only certain individuals will be allowed in to see the device, the report says.

MORE: Samsung Galaxy S8 Rumors: What Features to Expect

Rumors have been swirling for years that Samsung would offer up a foldable smartphone, though a growing drumbeat of chatter fueled by patent filings suggests that the phone would finally debut this year. Samsung's phone is expected to feature a big screen and hinge in the middle that will allow it to be folded over itself like a new-age flip phone. However, unlike flip phones of old, the face would be entirely covered by its touchscreen.

It's still unclear how such a phone would operate, though. Early reports suggested that the phone would double as a tablet after you unfolded it. Earlier reports suggested Samsung might have two foldable phone models in the works.

The biggest rumors, though, have centered on exactly when Samsung might actually announce the new smartphones. Leakers have claimed a foldable phone was right around the corner for the last two years, but 2017 increasingly looks the year such a device could finally arrive. Showing off the device at Mobile World Congress might make some sense, as Samsung isn't planning on showing off the Galaxy S8 at the show. That leaves Samsung needing a device to show case, and a foldable handset might just fit the bill. (Samsung will reportedly show off the Galaxy S3 Tab tablet at MWC, too.)

According to ET News, Samsung is also planning to have other foldable display prototypes at Mobile World Congress to gauge how the market might respond to different designs.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.