Samsung foldable phone could become reality this year, finally

The phone will have a flexible display that folds open into a 7-inch tablet, according to a report from Korea.

Close
Drag
samsung-flip-phone-2.jpg

Will consumers flip for a foldable phone?

Samsung promo video 2014

Samsung seems to have worked out the wrinkles on its much-rumored foldable phone and could unveil such a handset later this year, according to a report from Korea.

The electronics giant is working on a phone with a flexible display that folds open into a 7-inch tablet, the Korea Herald reported Wednesday. It is expected to ship more than 100,000 units during the third quarter, sources described as familiar with the matter told the newspaper.

Korea-based Samsung had initially focused on a fold-in phone but abandoned the plan out of concern that people would find it inconvenient to unfold the phone every time they wanted to use it, the Herald reported.

Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The smartphone market has cooled off in recent quarters, as developed countries have reached a saturation point and as new models have become largely incremental upgrades from their predecessors. That's dinged Samsung's sales, though the company says it's expecting a respectable performance from the final quarter of 2016.

Innovative designs could help spark a new wave of consumer spending on phones. Samsung has done well, for instance, with its Galaxy S7 Edge, which features a screen that wraps onto the side of the device. A clever trick, though, doesn't always pay off, something LG found out with its G5, a phone with snap-on attachments.

Folding a device would give you a smaller, more portable package to carry around, and it could essentially double the size of your screen. But the design also presents technical hurdles, such as whether rigid parts, like circuit boards, will have to use a different internal configuration or be made to slightly bend as well.

Samsung has had an interest in flexible phones for a couple of years. A Samsung patent filing from 2015 showed design concepts for not only foldable smartphones, but also ones that can be rolled up like a scroll.

New products from CES 2017: The CNET team shows you the latest gear from the Las Vegas tech show. Check it out right here.

Batteries Not Included: The CNET team shares experiences that remind us why tech stuff is cool. Take a look here.