While there was plenty of action on the show floor at CES 2014 last week, many meetings took place behind closed doors, where the latest unreleased tech was potentially shown to executives, investors, and VIPs. According to ETNews in Korea, Samsung held one such secret meeting where it revealed a prototype smartphone with a folding display.
Apparently held on January 12, after the show itself had ended, at the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas, VIPs at Samsung’s clandestine get-together saw what could be a future generation Galaxy Note device. Apparently, the AMOLED display measured 5.7-inches, and could, “fold like paper.” We’ve heard rumors about hardware like this before, including a mysterious device named the Galaxy Q, of which this could be an evolution.
Engineers at Samsung Display have also apparently cracked the problem of incorporating a touch panel into the foldable display. It’s reported the ITO film used on the bendable Galaxy Round degrades too quickly to be continually bent, so a new metal mesh film has been used for the touchscreen, ensuring there won’t be any deterioration of the image at the folding point over time.
Sadly, no images or even a description of the device have been leaked, so we don’t know whether Samsung showed the screen mounted in anything resembling a smartphone. However, to picture the space saving benefits of such a display, we only need to look at a Galaxy Note 3 and imagine folding it in half. It could mark the clamshell phone’s return, but not as we know it.
So, does Samsung’s secret meeting indicate we’re about to see the folding phone go on sale soon? No, probably not. At an analysts day last year, Samsung laid out its plans for bendable and foldable smartphones, indicating the first folding phones wouldn’t come until close to the end of 2015. Before we get folding phones, we’re told to expect properly bendable hardware. Unless plans have changed over at Samsung, the hardware shown at its post-CES meeting won’t be on sale for another couple of years yet.