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Samsung’s confidence falters on future foldable phone release

Samsung isn’t convinced the world is ready for a foldable smartphone, according to a report published by the Korea Herald, quoting anonymous sources. The company is described as “cautious” about the release of the rumored device, which has been seen in concept form for several years. It’s questioning the demand for such a phone, and may decide to introduce a foldable tablet first.

The Samsung Galaxy X, or Project Valley as it’s also known, has been discussed, leaked, rumored, patented, and shown as a prototype since 2014, making it clear the company is serious about producing a device that folds up. It’s also stated Samsung will be able to mass produce foldable phones — only in low numbers though — by the end of 2017, so what’s making it think twice?

More: Everything we think we know about the Galaxy X

It may be due to the Galaxy Note 7’s failure, according to another source quoted in the report, this time said to be a Samsung affiliate. The foldable device is likely to be expensive to produce and expensive to sell, so if demand is not there — either because it’s not an attractive proposition, or due to concerns over quality — Samsung will be left with a hard to sell product, something it doesn’t need after the Note 7.

Instead of charging ahead with a foldable phone, Samsung may decide to produce a foldable tablet to judge the reaction, only here with the screens facing outward. This is technically simpler than using inward facing screens on a phone, therefore the costs and risks should be lower. Components central to producing a phone or tablet like this, such as special flexible films to cover the display and flexible batteries, should be ready for short production runs late next year.

Samsung has time before it needs to make a decision, and the Galaxy S8 may be its primary concern at the moment; but we still hope a flexible phone will come over the next year or so. What do you think, is Samsung right to be concerned about interest in a foldable phone? Would you buy one, even if it cost the same as, or perhaps even more, than a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge?