Samsung is said to be planning to finally unveil its foldable phone on Feb. 20. And now, the company's senior vice president and head of its visual R&D team Hark-sang Kim is making the case for buying one.
In a post on Samsung's website (opens in new tab), Kim argues that the future of smartphones and smartphone design is in larger displays. He believes that in order to take full advantage of artificial intelligence, 5G, augmented reality, and other up and coming technologies, a larger screen is a requirement.
Realizing that, Kim wrote, Samsung had a choice. It needed to find a way to build a smartphone with a big-enough screen to take advantage of future technologies without sacrificing quality of making it too difficult to carry around.
"Instead of accepting the status quo, resolving the contradiction between screen size and portability and developing a new form factor became the central focus of our innovation efforts," Kim wrote.
Samsung actually unveiled plans for a foldable smartphone all the way back at CES 2011. Since then, the development went underground and its progress has been kept under wraps. At Samsung's Developer Conference in November, the company showcased its Infinity Flex Display, which will be used in its upcoming Galaxy F. However, it stopped short of showing an actual design.
The Infinity Flex Display is a foldable handset that, when closed, is about the size of a standard smartphone. But when it's open and the screen fully stretched out, it's the size of a tablet.
Of course, Samsung isn't the only company working on a foldable phone. Huawei, LG, and others are also working on a handset that could come with the unique design. But Samsung's Galaxy F is arguably the most sought-after, given the sheer number of rumors surrounding it for so long.
Kim wrote that Samsung's new foldable comes with an all-new "material that completely changes the anatomy of the smartphone display." He added that the screen can be folded "hundreds of thousands" of times, but the company had to "rethink the placements of the battery, cooling system, and camera so that they can be placed inside the slim body efficiently." Samsung also needed to build a new software experience to accommodate the screen.
Kim didn't say when the handset would launch or what it would look like, but all signs are now pointing to it being unveiled alongside the Galaxy S10 on Feb. 20. But it might only be the beginning, if Kim can be believed.
"We expect to see a sea change in the smartphone form factor in the coming years," Kim wrote. "From rollable and stretchable devices to the devices that can fold in multiple ways are no longer beyond the realms of reality."