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Samsung's Foldable Smartphone Could Hit Next Year

Samsung's long-awaited foldable smartphone might be making its debut next year, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Korea, Samsung CEO DJ Koh said that his company has "a plan to adopt a foldable display in our roadmap," but said that the Korean giant is dealing with some "technological hurdles" it needs to address before it can bring it to market.

"We will launch a foldable device when we are fully ready, and we are aiming to do so next year," Koh said, according to the Korea Herald. Samsung-tracking site SamMobile earlier reported on Koh's comments.

The foldable Samsung smartphone has been in the works for years, with Samsung itself showcasing prototypes as far back as a few years ago to prove it was serious about creating a device with a completely different design concept.

Over the past few years, there's been some debate over exactly how Samsung's foldable smartphone might work. Some prototypes have suggested the device would fold and then could be extended to have a larger screen size around that of a small tablet. Others say it might simply bend in the middle at a hinge and could fit well into a pocket or bag.

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For its part, Samsung is said to be testing different versions and has shown it to some of its industry partners to get their feedback. The company is also believed to have manufactured a small run of a few thousand units to see how they fare in the real world.

There had been some hope that Samsung would launch the foldable smartphone last year. But after that didn't happen, many industry watchers hoped the smartphone would find its way to store shelves in 2017. And although Koh has said he plans to launch it next year, the technological challenges his company is facing might mean it could eventually get pushed back even further.

Look for much more on Samsung's foldable smartphone as we head into 2018 and big mobile events, like Mobile World Congress and others, give the company an opportunity to again talk about the technology.

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.