A smartphone that boasts a bendable screen is expected to hit the market early next year. Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest phone maker, reportedly plans to introduce its long-awaited foldable-screen smartphone in 2019, The Wall Street Journal reports. The screen can be folded in half, like a wallet.
The prototype—known internally by its nickname, “Winner”—features a screen of about 7 inches, or about the size of a smaller tablet.
Foldable-screen devices have long been a pursuit among smartphone manufacturers. They differ from a traditional flip phone because when opened it exposes an entire larger screen, similar to a tablet but with the portability of a phone.
Phone manufacturers are hoping foldable screens can provide a boost to the handset industry. Smartphone sales fell 0.3 percent in 2017, the first annual decline in the industry’s history, according to global market researcher IDC. They are projected to decrease this year, too, as fewer people find a reason to upgrade their phones as they once did.
Samsung has yet to comment on its rumored release. But insiders told WSJ that they hope the foldable screen will usher in an entirely new product category of devices.