[THE INVETOR] Foldable smartphones whose mass-market debut is imminent in the coming years could be a bad omen for tablet PC makers, according to Yi Choong-hoon, head of market research firm UBI Research, on April 26.
“Foldable smartphones will gobble up the market share of conventional smartphones and it is highly likely that the new type of phones will signal the end of tablets,” he said at a display seminar in Seoul. “That’s why Samsung Electronics and other smartphone makers who also make tablets are still gauging the launch timing of their own foldable phones.”
Samsung has reportedly tested several prototypes over the past few years. More recently, Yi said, the Korean tech giant is working on an inward-folding phone that has a 7-inch display screen when unfolded. He added the screen size could be extended to up to 10 inches in the coming years, posing a direct threat to tablets on the market.
Samsung’s much-awaited foldable phone launch has been delayed not just because of marketability issues but also because the firm has not yet completely solved technical hurdles, mostly those linked to the durability of components.
Earlier last year, Samsung’s mobile business chief Koh Dong-jin said the firm aimed to launch its own foldable phone in 2018. But industry sources say the release schedule seems to have been postponed again to next year.
“The Galaxy S celebrates its 10th anniversary next year. Rather than stealing the marketing spotlight from the flagship phone, Samsung is likely to debut a foldable variant of the next-generation Note phone later in the year,” Yi added.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)