Samsung may release two bending phones in 2017
Smartphone which folds out to create eight-inch tablet may be unveiled at February's Mobile World Congress
Samsung is planning to introduce not one, but two fully flexible smartphones in 2017, reports Bloomberg, citing leaks from "people familiar with the matter".
The first is described as being like a "cosmetic compact", which is likely to be a modern interpretation of a flip-phone.
The other phone is described as having a 5ins display when used as a handset, but with the ability to unfurl and expand to a tablet rivalling eight inches.
It is said that at least one, but possibly both of the phones could be on show at the 2017 Mobile World Congress in February, before going on sale soon afterwards.
The products could be a "game changer" if Samsung finds a way to make them user-friendly and with interfaces making the most of the bending screens, says Lee Seung Woo, an analyst at IBK Securities Co in Seoul.
He pins down next year as a "probable scenario" for the technology to become commercially viable, as many of the hurdles associated with making such devices now seem resolved.
TechRadar says that the smartphone-to-tablet device would be "more than just a gimmick" and would give consumers a true two-in-one experience in a way phablets have not managed.
Larger phones such as the iPhone 6S Plus make use of displays typically around the 5.5ins mark. Samsung's transformer would not only be more compact and easier to fit into pockets, but when folded out, the eight-inch display would be massive compared to what phablets offer right now.
As for the clamshell-like Samsung device, patents for such a phone have been discovered. The phone folds in on itself, hiding the screen inside. "This could make it easier to fit in pockets, but all you're really trading is length for thickness," adds TechRadar.
Samsung has pioneered unconventional display technology with its "Edge" devices – smartphones using OLED displays with curved edges. Apple is heavily rumoured to be moving to OLED with its 2017 iPhone, although it seems as if its South Korean rivals could beat it to get the technology onto the market.
Samsung Galaxy X: Fully flexible smartphone could arrive in 2017
Samsung could launch five flagship smartphone devices as early as 2017 according to SamMobile – with an all new, fully flexible handset set to appear alongside two Galaxy S8 phones and two Galaxy Note 7 phablets.
According to the site – which has a strong track record when it comes to Samsung leaks – the device, currently being referred to as the Samsung Galaxy X, will be a fully folding smartphone which makes use of a completely flexible 4K OLED display with a diamond PenTile sub-pixel arrangement, and it could be available at some point next year.
Flexible devices have already hit the market, such as the G-Flex from rival manufacturer LG. Unlike these early entries though, it's said that the Samsung phone will fold in half "easily", completely clamming into itself like a wallet.
Know Your Mobile adds that the fully foldable display could be a tad nostalgic, as it might feel "just like the old flip-phones of the 90s", with the key exception being the fold running straight through the touchscreen, without hindering display performance and responsiveness, and without leaving marks when unfolded.
They also add that news of Samsung's impending flexible smartphone isn't surprising, and has always been "just really a question of when". The company has been very public with its ambitions to deliver a completely flexible device, parading early prototypes at technology shows and expos over the last few years, and introducing the curved Galaxy EDGE handsets as a gentle introduction to non-traditional display technology.
Why would consumers want or need a phone that folds in such a way? BGR says the technology is beyond a gimmick – it would allow smartphone users to carry devices with significantly larger display sizes in their pockets. Phablet style phones with six inch displays would suddenly become a lot more portable and much easier to have on your person during the day.
As for the other phones mentioned in SamMobile's report, the site claims that Samsung may introduce two Galaxy Note 7 devices next year – one with a flat display, the other making use of the company's curved EDGE screen technology.
Introducing the Note 7 EDGE in 2017 goes against the current Note 6 rumours – previous reports have suggested Samsung is testing a Note 6 EDGE for a possible release later this year. Both the Galaxy S8 and Note 7 devices are tipped to be coming with 2.5K Super AMOLED displays when they arrive next year.