Samsung will introduce its foldable phone on Wednesday, but don’t expect to see the product in action or even hear a release window.
It’s nowhere near close to entering mass production despite the South Korean company working on this technology for several years, according to Reuters. What we see at the Samsung Developer Conference will be in images and video. Maybe the flexible OLED panel could show up at the Moscone Center, but the actual product isn’t going to be on display.
The foldable phone doesn’t even have third-party app developers signed on yet. In San Francisco, Samsung’s developer-heavy gathering will be leveraged to gauge interest in the technology. Basically, there will be an all-out blitz to attract developers at the last minute.
Samsung could decide to reverse its decision on the foldable phone and never release it. There is, however, a need for something to jolt the South Korean company’s bottom line amid slumping sales. So getting the foldable phone out might be locked in, especially as competitors are developing similar products.
Here’s what an anonymous Samsung employee said:
“Unlike our flagship products, the foldable phone is a completely new concept in terms of design and user experience, which requires a different approach. Before we take it to the market, we want to share with developers what we’ve done so far and see what they think of it.”
So far, there’s no clear indication as to whether or not anyone will accept Samsung’s big idea. That’s true for both developers and consumers. A foldable phone could be impressive in theory, but too many disadvantages compared to traditional design are in its way.
As we’ve seen in the past, developers and consumers rely on each other. Without one, the other won’t show up. And it doesn’t feel like either wants any part of a foldable phone. That doesn’t bode well for Samsung’s foldable phone in 2019.
We’ll be watching the Samsung Developer Conference this week. The multi-day event, which runs November 7-8, will also include Bixby. Samsung’s digital assistant is due to get a friendlier skillset. Still, the world’s attention will be on the foldable phone more than anything else.