Huawei could be about to launch a folding and flexible smartphone inside 2018, according to reports.
By now you’re probably aware that Samsung is working on flexible and foldable OLED technology (what we at KYM call FFOLED; we’re hoping it catches on) with the aim of introducing a fully flexible and folding smartphone design to the market.
Indeed, Samsung has a massive lead on this; it’s invested more in OLED than anyone else over a considerable span of time, and as a result has the best facilities to design and produce OLED panels.
What’s more, it has been working on FFOLED specifically for many years now, and on multiple occasions has demonstrated prototypes at industry expos such as CES. In short, we’ve been hearing about the forthcoming technology for a VERY long time, and it always seems like its just round the corner, but so far, nothing concrete.
Last year it emerged that Samsung was working on a Galaxy X handset which would debut as the world’s first FFOLED phone, it was expected for launch inside 2017, but that has gradually rolled back and we’re now expecting it in 2018 instead. There is also word that 2018’s Galaxy Note 9 might feature an FFOLED.
In the meantime, with Samsung being fairly public with its ambitions, it’s not surprising that in the last year and a bit we’ve seen other rival firms, primarily out of China (but also including fellow Korean firm LG) revealing similar plans and even showcasing some prototypes of their own at expo events too.
Similarly to Samsung, however, nothing consumer ready has materialised…yet.
Huawei might be about to change that though. According to a CNET interview with the firm’s consumer business group CEO, Richard Yu, Huawei is already well into development of a flexible and folding display smartphone. Yu made it clear that it would not be ready for inside 2017, but could be ready in time to rival the Galaxy X inside 2018.
Yu said that Huawei needs to get hold of better flexible screen tech and integrate a better mechanical design before finalising a handset to be consumer ready. That would perhaps imply that it isn’t working with Samsung supplied OLED panels right now; although no smartphones currently implement them with a flexible form factor, Samsung is the market’s lead supplier of flexible OLED panels for the use in fixed but curved screens.
It sounds as though on the firm’s current test prototypes the phone uses two display panels separated by a hinge, rather than using a single, truly flexible panel.
“We have two screens, but we still have a small gap. That’s not good, and we should get rid of the gap,” said Yu.
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