The competition for leadership in foldable smartphones is expected to intensify toward the end of this year. According to the smartphone industry on July 30, Samsung Electronics is set to launch a foldable smartphone early next year, while LG Electronics, Huawei, and Oppo also obtained patents on foldable smartphones. The smartphone industry is paying a lot of attention to the shapes of foldable smartphones and who will launch a foldable model first.
It is possible to predict what foldable smartphones will look like. Observing the patents registered by these companies, Samsung is likely to come up with a smartphone that can be vertically folded. On the other hand, LG Electronics and Huawei belong to the horizontally foldable smartphone group.
According to major foreign news media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Samsung Electronics is developing a foldable smartphone under the code name of "Winner." According to patent information that has been made public so far, the smartphone is vertically folded. The screen is larger than current smartphones but can become smaller when it is folded. The model is similar to past foldable smartphones but when its screen is folded, when it is bent. The rear camera is located outside even after the smartphone is folded so the rear camera may be used for various purposes. The fully opened screen size is about 18.79 cm (7.4 inches), 2.54 cm (1 inch) larger than the Galaxy Note 9 (about 6.4 inches or 16.25 cm) to be unveiled in New York City on August 9 (local time)
LG Electronics' foldable smartphone is shown via a concept image. In the image, the foldable model is horizontally folded, according to Lets Go Digital, a information technology (IT)-specialized media outlet. Based on patents registered by LG Electronics, the full-screen display is folded in half like a diary. Huawei and Apple took this approach, too. A tablet is horizontally folded only to become a smartphone size. Some part of the screen on a foldable smartphone of China's Oppo is folded. The foldable model consists of three parts. Some parts combines with the main body and the remaining part becomes the cover.
Their shapes are predictable, but the times of their launches and their quality will hold the key to their success in the market. Foreign news outlets are expecting Huawei to be the first company to launch a foldable smartphone. TechRadar reported that Huawei was highly likely to launch a foldable smartphone this November at the earliest and to use LG's organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays in the foldable smartphone. "Even if Huawei launches the foldable smartphone in November, it will commercialize it in 2019, checking responses from the market," TechRadar said.
Samsung Electronics is keeping mum about the launch date of its foldable smartphone. However, the company is clarifying its position that it does not think highly of its launch date. "Although rumors went around several times in the market, I heard that the department in charge of developing a foldable smartphone is putting its utmost efforts into enhancing the quality of the product," a Samsung official said,
On the other hand, Strategy Analytics (SA), a global market research firm, estimates that the size of the world's foldable smartphone market will increase from 3.2 million units in 2019 to 50.1 million units in 2022.