Today’s market is super saturated with high quality mobile devices. With advances in processing and camera technology, modern smartphones are the equivalent of the earliest super computers. While those advances are great, that also means that even mid range or budget phones can fulfill the needs of almost all typical consumers. Basically, improvement and innovation have slowed to a crawl. Year after year, new smart phones are basically the same or very similar to their predecessor. We haven’t had something truly different in years, which is an eternity in the technology world. Even diehard brand fans are second guessing getting the newest model, hence Apple’s stock drop. Luckily, we might see some real innovation very soon.
Just a few months ago LG showed off it’s newest innovation, a bendable screen. Their prototype screen could in fact be rolled up like you would a newspaper. Similarly, other companies like Samsung and Sharp have also developed similar screens that are free form and malleable. Though the technology is currently limited, if this type of technology was perfected it could open a whole new market for both mobile and home uses. Bigger more advanced TVs could be made to occupy a smaller part of your home. Perhaps most exciting is the possibility of large mobile devices being folded into smaller shapes.
This is exactly what a report from Korea is saying. If you believe the rumors then Samsung is already working on a folding mobile device that is being tentatively called a “smartlet.” Unlike the devices like Kyocera’s Echo that were more like a Nintendo 3DS which had two screens on each half of a folding smartphone, the smartlet would have a true single foldable screen. Samsung already has patents for a smartphone that can fold and both LG and Samsung have both publicly said that folding mobile devices may arrive as early as 2016-2017.
According to ETNews, the Samsung smartlet would theoretically be a 5-inch smartphone that can unfold unto a 7-inch tablet whenever you want a bigger display. Other details like price, battery life, and processing power are still a bit hazy since different outlets are reporting different things but you can assume with the success of their newest Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge it would have similar capabilities. Additionally, the patent that Samsung holds for their foldable smartphone also indicates the possibility of hologram and projection technology. We’re not sure if they’re ready to implement those features just yet but what we do know is that Samsung is set to mass produce the foldable smartphones by the end of this year which means by this time next year, we might be witness to the birth of a new category of mobile device. This isn’t the first time Samsung has done this, they created the phablet category with their Galaxy Note. Will this be another huge winner or will the market just pass them by?