Analysts covering Samsung Electronics said Tuesday the company plans to release a Galaxy-branded "foldable" device, next year.
"Parts affiliates and first-tier subcontractors will begin supplying parts to Samsung Electronics' handset division beginning in November, at the earliest, with the company assembling the phone aiming for a launch next year," said Park Hyung-woo, an analyst at Shinhan Financial, according to Korea Times.
Kim Jang-yeol, head of research at Golden Bridge Investment, said the suggested retail price tag of the Samsung foldable phone, which the brokerage firm expects to be released in the first half of next year, could about 2 million won without subsidies from carriers.
Samsung had previously confirmed that it was in the process of developing a smartphone that could be folded.
The local brokerage expects the upcoming foldable smartphone will have a 7.3-inch OLED screen. "When the device is folded, the display size is estimated to be 4.5-inches," said Kim.
"This new device is an interesting thing as it will have two inside panels and one outside panel with the two inside panels forming the 7.3-inch screen when the phone is unfolded," Park said, adding Samsung Electronics plans to show the prototype to major U.S. and European mobile carriers in separate private meetings during next year's technology fair in Las Vegas.
Samsung has filed several patents regarding the phone including one on the ability to fold without damaging any "internal components." Its latest patent, dubbed "artificial muscle" is for components moving in sync with the screen to protect them.
Chinese and Huawei and ZTE are also said to be developing devices with foldable screens.