Innovations emerge every day in the consumer electronics space. They may seem mundane to you today, but billions of people use smartphones on a daily basis, things we could only imagine decades ago. As if that wasn’t mind-boggling enough, foldable smartphones are becoming mainstream, and rollable devices may be just over the horizon. A handful of phone brands are now vying to launch the first rollable smartphone and one of them is Samsung. We just heard a quick word this spring about an extra special device that may be in the spotlight this summer, it looks like its first rollable devices could be here sooner than expected. This begs the question: will we see a rollable phone at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event?
The short answer is “probably not”. Samsung will officially introduce its flagship smartphones Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 along with other devices like Galaxy Watch 5 series and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro at its Galaxy Unpacked event. There has been no trace of the word “rollable” in connection with the event.
What there is I was it was a spring rumor of a special device dubbed “N4” or a “Project Diamond” unrelated to Flip 4 and Fold 4 that may or may not appear in Unpacked. It may have been described as a foldable rather than a rollable device, but it was agreed that it probably won’t go on sale this year.
Before we go too far talking about a “rollable smartphone”, we shouldn’t lead you the wrong way on what to expect.
Like any good corporation with great teams of designers and engineers, Samsung continues to make its presence known in the room. SamMobile reported on one of its patents in April showing a possible rollable phone design. Samsung also showcased rollable displays at Information Display Society Display Week in May (via Android Authority) with some prototypes styled similarly to what the previous patents represent.
These so-called “Flex Slidable” form factors feature an extendable chassis that can display the entire screen or a smaller portion when the device is collapsed; a scroll section inside would store the unused part of the panel.
Ultimately, though, we’re not sure Samsung has a finalized rollable smartphone product. There are a number of stages in the development and production processes of any new product where intelligence could more easily seep through. The paucity of that information suggests a great deal of nothing.
One of the biggest engineering hurdles has to do with the expansion and contraction of the device. With the internal hardware designed to fit the smallest possible iteration of the extensible form, we’re looking at challenges in cabling between parts (more wires, more risk of failure, less performance), the durability of the actual components, and the packaging. thermal. among others. But from what we can tell, this seems to be Samsung’s approach, as well as the competition’s in general, to integrating rollable screens into smartphones and it’s a safe bet that a Flex Slideable phone or phablet (or both) will eventually appear. .
However, we wouldn’t be surprised if one of those devices shows up in Unpacked. Businesses always have to do marketing, so this should come as no surprise. Oppo and LG were the first to release tangible rollable concepts in 2021. However, Oppo’s phone fell short of the company’s lifecycle goal of surviving 200,000 device expansions and contractions during its testing phase (through from TheVerge). And let’s not forget that LG Mobile went out of business last April.
Sure, Apple and Chinese display maker TCL may have their own intellectual property, but their product trails haven’t been all that exciting to follow, especially considering neither has bothered to enter the foldable phone market proper yet, and much less Google.
Samsung has an excellent opportunity to light up the crowd with a tantalizing tease of what it thinks a “rollable phone” should be. Will it cost a lot? Safely. But that detail falls far short of what many really want to know: when will it arrive? If the company comes across this moment during Unpacked on August 10, we wouldn’t be surprised. Rather, if it doesn’t, we may have a problem here.