Samsung showed off a new concept for a foldable phone at its developer conference on October 29, 2019.
Samsung Electronics confirmed Thursday that it’s releasing another foldable smartphone this year with a different design from its previous model, despite the rocky start the company had with this new style of handset.
“Currently we are focusing on launching the new foldable model of a new form factor and also focusing on further enhancing the level of completeness of the product in terms of the display, the design and the UX (user experience),” an executive said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Thursday.
The South Korean technology giant unveiled the Galaxy Fold, its first foldable phone last year. It was initially supposed to launch in April but kept breaking for some users. Samsung fixed the problems with the device and ended up launching it later in the year with a hefty price tag of $1,980.
Despite the problems with the Galaxy Fold, Samsung still feels that foldables are an important product.
“The foldable phone has actually opened a new category of a super premium product that’s differentiated from the existing smartphone offerings and we believe that going forward the foldable phone will become a main category in the overall mobile market,” the executive said.
Samsung did not elaborate on the price or the design of the new phone. But in October, at its developers conference, it released a video showing a couple of different concepts. One is a phone that opens outwards like its existing Galaxy Fold. The second is a sort-of “clamshell” design that opens upwards. It is similar to the way a user opens the Motorola Razr foldable device which was revived last year.
When contacted by CNBC, a Samsung spokesperson said it could not comment further beyond the earnings report.
A number of leaks over the past few months have suggested that Samsung is going forward with this design. A recent report from technology website WinFuture suggested the device could be called the Galaxy Z Flip and feature the clamshell-like design. None of these leaks have been verified by CNBC.
Samsung’s mobile division posted an 8% year-on-year rise in sales for the fourth quarter but it is facing tougher competition. Apple overtook Samsung in terms of smartphone shipment volumes in the fourth quarter. The South Korean firm is looking at foldables as a way to boost growth and is increasing production capacity for such devices.
Samsung Galaxy Unpacked, the company’s big unveiling event, is scheduled for February 11. At this event, Samsung usually unveils the next device in its flagship S Series. It’s unclear if it will also take the wraps off the new foldable handset.
“It’s difficult at this point of the year to share with you more specific sales volume exceptions, but we are also at the same time as preparing the new product … increasing our capacity for production of foldable products and we hope to supply foldable products to more customers this year,” a Samsung executive said.