Flip phone could make a comeback

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Samsung could be bringing back the flip phone with a new foldable smartphone that boasts two screens.

By Harry Pettit

Samsung could be bringing back the flip phone with a new foldable smartphone that boasts two screens.

The so-called Galaxy X reportedly has a pair of OLED displays with a hinge in the middle allowing it to fold open 180 degrees.

Samsung has already placed orders for components and is planning to build between 2,000 and 3,000 units before July, reports suggest.

Samsung is preparing to test a prototype of the foldable smartphone this year according to a report in South Korean news outlet The Investor.

"Samsung seems to be testing the waters with the dual-screen device to gather ideas about its upcoming foldable phone," a source told the publication.

The company first filed a patent for a foldable device last year.

It could lead to a handset that can easily transform into a tablet - simply by unfolding it.

The document shows a narrow Samsung device with a screen that bends and folds like an old-school flip phone handset, using a large hinge.

The device is described as something that can be "folded or unfolded semi automatically."

The patent also referred to both a "flexible" and "secondary" display, which is supposed to activate when you fold the device.

But the problem, multiple sources say, isn't with the technology but whether Samsung can work out marketing and profitability issues.

Last month it was revealed that Samsung has secretly been showing off a radical "Foldable Valley" device and could unveil it later this year in a bid to deflect attention from Apple's iPhone 8.

Apple is expected to unveil its "iPhone Edition" in September - with the latest rumours saying Samsung could show off the folding design a few days earlier at the IFA show in Berlin.

Samsung's unnamed smartphone was apparently showcased to a limited number of partners at MWC 2017, as the South Korean giant is trying to prevent leaks, according to BGR.

Korean site ETNews says the firm will begin widespread testing of prototypes later this year, and although Samsung could announce it as an Apple spoiler, the handset will not go on sale until next year.

Samsung seems to be testing the waters with the dual-screen device to gather ideas about its upcoming foldable phone.

Earlier rumours claimed both Samsung and LG are planning to launch bendable phones later this year.

Samsung's device, codenamed 'Foldable Valley' will turn into a 7inch tablet when unfolded, and is expected to launch in august, the report claimed.

It also said LG will unveil a similar product, and believes it can sell 100,000 foldable devices in the fourth quarter.

Continued below.

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According to previous claims from Korean news site ETNews, the product is known internally as a 'smartlet' and has a 7inch screen when unfolded, which becomes a 5inch device when folded.

Samsung will apparently start mass producing the 'smartlet' this year for a 2017 release, and has spent three years developing the technology.

Dubbed "Foldable Valley", the device is expected to take advantage of bendy plastic screens being developed by Samsung's display division.

In a call with investors in January, director of Samsung's Display division Lee Chang-hoon said "Development of Foldable OLED is taking place according to our plan...We are planning on mass-production and release this product by discussing with out partners."

The South Korean tech giant previously said it will launch foldable devices in 2016 and trusted rumour blog SamMobile reported earlier this year that anonymous sources claim the device is already being tested in China.

The source, who claims to have in-depth knowledge of the device, said it is being developed under the codename Project Valley.

Development of Foldable OLED is taking place according to our plan... We are planning on mass-production and release this product by discussing with out partners.
Lee Chang-hoon, director of Samsung's Display division

And they added that two versions of the phone are being tested - one with a Snapdragon 620 processor and another with a Snapdragon 820.

Elsewhere, the device is rumoured to have 3GB of RAM, a microSD card slot and a non-removable battery.

Samsung told MailOnline it doesn't comment on rumour or speculation.

Samsung has been teasing bendable screens for years and at CES in 2013 revealed a flexible Oled screen called Youm.

The firm said at the time it could make high-resolution screens on extremely thin plastic, instead of glass, so it could be bent without shattering.

However, a notebook style phone would need to bend at a very sharp angle and would need to withstand considerable wear and tear, leading some commentators to suggest the rumour should be taken with a pinch of salt.

LG is similarly developing incredibly bendy screens.

In 2014, it showed off a working 18-inch Ultra HD screen that uses a special film instead of plastic as backing.

This allowed the screen to be rolled into a tight tube for transport.

At the time, the company said it could make its debut in 2017.

In May, it debuted a a concept ultra thin 'wallpaper TV' less than 1mm thick, and at four lbs (1.9kg) it is so light it can be attached to the wall using just magnets.

At IFA, a demonstration showed an LG employee pulling the screen away from the wall and bending it, to prove it carries on working.

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