DJ Koh, president of Samsung Electronics' mobile communications business, on Tuesday said Samsung hopes to showcase a foldable handset next year but that technological hurdles must be overcome before a decision can be made.
The foldable smartphone is included in the mobile unit's 2018 annual roadmap, he said. But he fell short of commenting on details, such as its specifications.
"We are digging thoroughly into several issues we must overcome, as we don't want to just make a few, sell a few and be done. We want to hear that Samsung made a very good product," DJ Koh said at a media event, which was about the success of the recently released Galaxy Note 8 smartphone. The executive said that pre-orders for Samsung's latest handset have beat its predecessor Note 7 over five days by about 2.5 times.
Mass-producing a foldable phone with top tech features and a thin body will take time.
Samsung showcased a flexible display prototype called Youm in 2013. For at least the past two years, there have been rumors that Samsung is close to showing off its first smartphones that can be folded.
Koh also said the company is working with auto-systems maker Harman to develop an artificial intelligence-enabled speaker that users can speak to in order to play music and conduct other tasks. Samsung acquired the company last year as part of its plans to expand in the emerging market for connected cars.
Amazon and Google already have those always-on voice-controlled speakers in the market while Apple's Homepod is due to go on sale later this year. It is not clear when Samsung's voice-controlled speaker, which will likely use the South Korean company's Bixby voice assistant, will be unveiled. Koh did not say when it will hit the market.