Samsung shows off design of new ‘old flip phone’ foldable smartphone

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Samsung on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 showed off the design of a new foldable smartphone concept that folds vertically like an old flip phone, rather than horizontally like its recently released Galaxy Fold device.

The South Korean teased the design at its developer conference. The clip starts off with the Galaxy Fold flipping open and closing again before transitioning to a new model that shuts in half like a clamshell.

It’s a brief teaser for what’s to come as Samsung and some other phone makers race to find new ways of innovating in smartphone design. Huawei recently released its folding phone, the Mate X, in China, while fellow Chinese firm Xiaomi has previously teased a gadget that folds backwards from a tablet into a phone that can be held with one hand.

It isn’t yet clear whether Samsung plans on releasing the device commercially. According to Reuters, the firm said in a statement that it couldn’t comment on future products but is “committed to pioneering the foldable category, including investing in the development of new form factors.”

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There have been concerns over how smartphones with folding glass will be able to sustain long-term usage, after Samsung’s Galaxy Fold ended up breaking initially for multiple reviewers. The company consequently delayed the official launch of the phone, finally releasing it last month after addressing some key issues.

Standing out from the crowd is Microsoft, which is returning to the smartphone scene with a new device called the Surface Duo that folds using a hinge connecting two 5.6-inch screens. Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay told reporters in London earlier this month that he thinks two screen devices are “coming,” adding “they’re real.”

It comes as smartphone sales have been on the wane, with shipments declining 2.3% year over year in the second quarter of 2019, according to industry research firm IDC. Experts are hoping the emergence of 5G — the next generation of mobile internet — could help boost sales in the future, with Apple expected to release a 5G device in 2020.

Yetunde Adegoke

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