The company is currently focused on perfecting bezel-less screen designs like the one found in the Galaxy S7 Edge, an engineer said.
Once rumored to hit the market this year, a Samsung phone with a foldable display may not be for sale until 2019, giving the Korean tech giant time to perfect its bezel-less smartphone design.
Samsung Display engineer Kim Tae-woong hinted at the updated timeframe in an interview with the Korea Herald this week. The company is currently focused on perfecting displays like the one found on the Galaxy S7 Edge (above), he said. Its screen reaches all the way to the edge of the smartphone, eliminating the gap between the screen and the edge of the phone, known as a bezel.
“Because the bezel-free display currently sells well, we still have enough time to develop [a] foldable display,” said. “The technology is expected to be mature around 2019.” Besides moving away from the current focus on bezel-less screens, there are technological hurdles that must also be overcome before the introduction of foldable displays, Tae-woong told the Korea Herald.
Samsung has showed off foldable display prototypes several times before, including at CES 2013. Later that year, it announced a roadmap that called for foldable production phones in 2014. None materialized, however, although subsequent rumors pointed to an updated release timeframe of early 2017, with Bloomberg last summer tipping two new flexible-display handsets, including one model that folds in half like a cosmetic compact.
Samsung was also issued a Korean patent for a foldable display design in November. The design depicted a slab-like device with a bendy connector reminiscent of the Microsoft Surface dividing its upper and lower half. A touch screen covered the entire surface of the device.
Other phone makers are also working on foldable displays, including Lenovo, which showed off a few of its prototypes in June 2016, but cautioned the technology wasn’t ready for commercial production.