The most desirable and exciting phones to come from Samsung next year may not have the Galaxy S name attached. Rumors are spreading fast that the company will have bendy, flexible screens ready for release in early 2017, but they won’t be fitted to the Galaxy S8, according to sources speaking to Bloomberg.
We shouldn’t expect just one flexible screened phone either, because the anonymous source leaked two devices, and both could arrive at next year’s Mobile World Congress technology show, set to take place between February 27 and March 2. The first may be a phone with a folding clamshell design, described as “like a cosmetic compact” by the leak, and the second may have a roll-out screen that takes the display size from 5-inches to 8-inches.
Both are expected to use Samsung’s flexible OLED screen technology, and are currently being worked on under the Project Valley codename, but when they do go on sale, it won’t be under the Galaxy S name. When Samsung introduced its Edge display, it used the Galaxy Note first, before adopting the technology on the Galaxy S range. While the devices described here may get a unique name initially, there’s a chance the rolling, flexing displays will spread to other Samsung hardware in the future.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about flexible screens from Samsung. The rumors have been around for years, but recently they have become more regular, adding weight to the rumor of a 2017 release. Recently, a patent showed how Samsung may use its rolled-up screen technology on a phone, and it showed off a working prototype of the screen at a tech show, although it only extended to 5.7-inches in size.
Even the 2017 date has been mentioned before, with a South Korean report from April stating Samsung planned to have flexible screens in mass production by next year, and that one possible use would be transforming a 5-inch phone into a 7-inch tablet. They have been a while coming, but it looks like there’s less than a year to go before we see an innovation that could change the way phones are designed.
It looks really futuristic, but it’s unclear exactly when we’ll see this technology hit the market. Although the report says Samsung plans to introduce a foldable phone in January, we’ve heard similar reports in the past and have yet to see such a device launch just yet.
There are also complications that make it difficult for these devices to become a reality. Batteries, processors, sensors, cameras, and all of the other components that power our electronics would also need to be flexible if bendable computers are going to be real and functional.