Samsung has in a way officially confirmed what was circulated earlier through rumors and speculations; a clamshell-like foldable smartphone that folds from the top instead of horizontally, like a book. The company has demonstrated the new design through a short video that plays a clip on the screen. The company used the occasion of its Samsung (SSNLF) Developer Conference to share this information. The company says it is still in the concept stage and its research team is working on it.
A Form Factor Very Common in the Feature Phone Era
Many mobile phone users would have used the feature phones with the clamshell folding feature. The displays would be on the top part of the piece and the keyboard at the bottom. The phones could be flipped using a single hand. With the latest large-sized screen, the one-hand operation may not be feasible. The video displayed by Samsung, which is also available on YouTube, shows a seamless screen that spreads to both the portions of the smartphone. The design is such that you can place the phone down and the opened part will be vertical, giving a clear view.
Too Early to Call if This Will be Used
The title of this piece is deliberately left as a poser since there is no confirmation yet that this new clamshell form factor will be used by Samsung in its next edition of a foldable smartphone. Many companies toy with designs but may reject them for various reasons. The experience the South Korean company has had with the first foldable device, the Samsung Galaxy Fold, must have left it a bit wary. The company may want to be absolutely certain that the new concept is practically working and will deliver without any technical glitches.
Cost is another factor the company will have to take into consideration. The Samsung Galaxy Fold at close to $2,000 is already seen as an expensive phone for the regular smartphone buyer/user. If the idea of the foldable device is to make it convenient for the user to fold and keep in the pocket and still have the flexibility to use a large tablet-like screen, then it should be targeted at a larger mass of buyers.
Companies constantly work on bringing down the costs to make their products reach a larger customer base. In the absence of any information on how much the new ‘clamshell’ design will cost as opposed to the ‘book’ design, it is difficult to predict the future of this new concept form factor design.