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Samsung says phones with foldable displays are unlikely to launch until 2019

Those rumors about Samsung planning to launch new devices with foldable displays later this year are starting to look a bit wide of the mark. Samsung Display says that it doesn't expect such devices to become available for at least the next two years.

It seems that the company isn't in any great rush to get these devices on sale either, due to the ongoing popularity of its existing bezel-less displays. The company's new Galaxy S8 and S8+ flagships both include these 'edge' displays, which curve around the left and right edges of each device.

"Because the bezel-free display currently sells well," said Kim Tae-woong, principal engineer of Samsung Display, "we still have enough time to develop foldable displays. The technology is expected to be mature around 2019."

HI Investment and Securities analyst Chung Won-seok told The Korea Herald that Samsung is "already enjoying 20 percent of operating profits with bezel-free display", adding: "When the demand for bezel-free handsets slows down, Samsung will unveil the foldable display as the next card."

Tech giants, including Samsung, have been talking up the imminent arrival of devices with foldable screens for years, but they remain the stuff of science fiction and concept videos for now. The recent discovery of a Microsoft patent for foldable devices led to some fanciful speculation that its much-rumored 'Surface phone', expected to launch next year, might have such a form factor.

A Samsung development roadmap from 2013 indicated that the company expected to have flexible, foldable devices by late 2015, or early 2016. In November 2014, Samsung was still planning to launch such a device by the end of the following year.

Clearly, things haven't developed as planned. Kim said today that there are still some technical challenges that need to be overcome before the technology is ready for market. Samsung Display said to expect 'single foldable' handsets first, before 'multi-foldable' devices are released later.

Source: The Korea Herald

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