We've been hearing rumours for some time that Samsung will launch a Galaxy X folding smartphone at some point. The device has already been through some certification for its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth components. Now, according to LetsGoDigital, it seems like the whole thing is being inspected by the Korean National Radio Research Agency ahead of a launch, perhaps early next year.
The device has been using the model number SM-G888 as it's gone through the various regulatory steps needed to produce a compliant mobile device. The NRRA lists it as "radio equipment for LTE mobile communication" and when it was seen at the Wi-Fi Alliance it was described as a "Smartphone". While it's possible the Sm-G888 is another phone entirely, it doesn't fit with anything in the current ranges.
The idea of a foldable phone is nothing new. The image above was taken at CES in 2009 and showed off what Samsung then described as "The World's First Foldable AMOLED". The problem back then was that the technology was bulky and had a really poor resolution of just 480x272 and will have likely been incredibly expensive.
For Samsung to actually market a device it would need to be "normal" phone sized and survive the rigours of day-to-day life. But AMOLEDs have come on enormously since 2009 and Samsung has been playing around with bending displays since the Galaxy Note Edge and later the Galaxy S6 Edge. These phones and the ones that followed will have taught the firm a lot about unusual designs.
I suspect that if this device does arrive it will be very much like the Note Edge was, expensive and pretty rare. Samsung won't want to sell it in huge numbers, but it will likely be a mission to learn a bit more about how popular these devices are and how people use them.
But if we're honest, smartphones have been a little bit dull recently, so there is a need to innovate and produce new devices. It will be really interesting to see what Samsung does eventually produce and how it works. Personally, I'd love to have something that's a phone and a tablet and looks like that thing they use on Westworld. But that might be asking a little bit much of 2017 tech.
Anyway It's possible that Samsung will unveil the device at CES, but that show tends not to focus on mobile so much. It's perhaps more likely that the phone will get launched at MWC in Barcelona instead.
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