As Samsung’s Galaxy handset line-up appears to be running out of hardware differentiation, the fact that a device with a real flexible screen makes the best timing for the South Korean Giant Tech. For more than seven years now, many companies have been trying to at least create a prototype of a device with a flexible screen while LG and Samsung, a few years ago in 2012, demonstrated the almost indestructible and fully flexible displays.
However, they faced two significant problems
Yield, first issue: A flexible display’s encapsulation is trickier than expected at scale and the yields did not rise as estimated so, in order to manufacture such an unreliable device for the market, the manufacturing costs would have been too high. Samsung refuses to launch other devices until the problem mentioned earlier will be fully solved for real. Another reason staying behind Samsung’s refusal to unveil other devices is that there is no need to do that as other display features already have hardware differentiation.
Demand, the second difficult issue: Unfortunately, Samsung did not come up with any additional experiences such a device would bring to the user. The South Korean company had also faced the same problem when it tried to sell these displays to other handset manufacturers. They have not received any real demand and customers confirmed this assumption as well. Cool gimmicks do sell the devices compared to a pointless flexible screen that would only be cool.
With or without a foldable phone, companies have perfected the mass manufacturing of bezel-less OLED display of large sizes (Apple would be an example for using such screens) which are in fact not only cool to have, but they also offer an even more pleasurable experience. Samsung has the ability to maintain its share at high-end because the company is ahead of all of its competitors no matter the innovations, all at a high level that leveraged its scale. Even though the Note 7 battery fire fiasco has put quite something on Samsung’s plate, the South Korean giant tech still succeeded in the three areas mentioned which got its brand emerged from that mal event. Taking into consideration the fact that its features are perfectly working, a launch of a new hardware is unnecessary.
Unfortunately, the hardware differentiation can’t last forever, and that is quite a big problem as the Chinese and Apple had started to catch up with the company, and they offer OLED displays with no bezels as well. It means that Samsung will need, indeed, something to steal their spotlight back. This situation makes for the best timing so the company would productize flexible displays and for a while, it will be the leader of that market as no other company will be in a hurry to “copy” it considering the lack of demand.
Further information on the topic
Samsung has the great ability to change things’ sizes and make them smaller, cheaper, and better than almost any other rival and even though the market reception is uncertain, it will be a nice looking and sleek device.
One subject that interest most fans of Samsung are how much it would cost taking into account that Samsung aims to energize its other devices’ appeal. It will not be a cheap device for sure considering the resources which would be put into it.
Samsung has come up with this new strategy because it wants to maintain the differentiation of the hardware while facing the commoditization’s relentless Android smartphones. It is not the first time Samsung would perfect this, and the company might have kept this device as a plan B for when they will have no unique innovations to launch. 2019 is the best time to launch this foldable device as the smartphone market has started to slow down and the competition gets more stringent and more robust.
As this device will not offer such an experience as a bigger phone, it is not crystal clear how aspirational it would be. If Samsung fans consider it to be cool enough, we think there will be no issue with selling it, but it can’t be turned into a must-have at all.