September 14, 2017
Phones have been getting bigger for years: More screen real estate makes for a better visual experience and fewer cramped finger swipes. But phones can only get so bulky before our pockets can’t handle them. Short of cargo pants coming back into style, Samsung’s just-announced foldable phone might be the best solution.
Samsung revealed their plans on the same day as Apple’s 2017 special event in which it announced the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Needless to say, the obvious attempt to stay relevant didn’t work out so well, as Apple dominated the tech news cycle yet again with its Apple Watch news and Animoji demonstrations.
Still, a foldable phone is an interesting concept, and one that the company has already proven possible.
A Quick History of the Foldable Phone
The foldable phone isn’t quite Samsung’s white whale, but they have been toying with the concept since at least 2013, when they began showing off a prototype of a bendable plastic screen at CES. Here’s the video, thanks to a Mashable article on the subject.
Don’t miss my favorite part: The random guy who adds “That’s amazing!” at about 48 seconds into the clip. Anyway, four years later, Samsung is confident enough to announce their upcoming foldable phone (while admitting the 2018 deadline might be optimistic).
Koh Dong-jin, president of mobile business at Samsung Electronics, broke the news officially, telling Seoul reporters Tuesday that “as the head of the business, I can say our current goal is next year. When we can overcome some problems for sure, we will launch the product.”
Samsung’s swing at a cool new technology should make at least one tiny demographic happy: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans will now have an approximation of the eponymous Guide, a travel handbook for the entire galaxy. Just as Dick Tracy fans have their watch, and Star Trek fans have their communicators, a Guide isn’t the same unless it opens almost, but not quite, entirely like a real book.
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