Samsung Galaxy Future: BIG Innovation Is COMING In 2017
Samsung is going to change everything, starting in 2017 with the Galaxy X
Samsung remains the undisputed king of the Android space; the firm sells more handsets running Google’s mobile platform than any other, and even outside of Android it is currently kicking Apple’s ass when it comes to sales. The Korean tech giant has come a long way in recent years, and rumours would suggest that it’s got a LOT of interesting stuff coming up in the not-too-distant future, things which are shaping up to be MAJOR milestones in the mobile tech space as a whole.
In short, Samsung is gearing up to be a pioneer, a proper trend-setter for mobile devices going forward. What’s the catalyst for all this? Well quite simply it’s that Samsung is going to be first to market with a fully folding and flexible Super AMOLED display smartphone; the Samsung Galaxy X, and this will change the mobile device market permanently – including phones, tablets, and the rest.
So with this in mind, we thought it would be interesting to think about how Samsung’s portfolio is likely to change over the next couple of years. Of course this is all speculation, but it’s fun to think about.
The big deal for folding and flexible OLED displays is that they literally break down the barriers between different form factors – phones, tablets, wearables, and so on. Samsung’s initial foray into FFOLED (my own term for Folding Flexible OLED – I’m hoping it’ll catch on), the Samsung Galaxy X arriving in 2017, will quite simply involve a clamshell smartphone that can fold in on itself to become more compact.
However, there is also a rumour for a second Samsung FFOLED device in development that may appear inside 2017 also; a standard smartphone-sized handset with a 5in display which can unfold into a larger 8in display factor, effectively a small tablet. And this is the thing; Samsung does have the sensible habit of trying new ideas and hardware out on one particular device type (or variant thereof) for a bit before rolling it out across the board; with flexible OLED making such a significant difference to the way in which devices can be used it’s almost certain to be widely implemented.
Another factor is that the tablet market has slowed significantly, although Samsung and other OEMs are still producing tablets, but in nowhere near the numbers they used to due to declining sales year-on-year. The tablets that are still being made tend to be Windows 10-based hybrid tablet-come-laptop devices, but either way, the consensus seems to be that consumers buy tablets the way they do computers, on a longer-term cycle than phones and only replacing the device after several years of use.
I’m expecting Samsung to lead the way in terms of true tablet devices being phased out completely, but I’d go one further, I think it’s quite likely that (with the possible exception of budget category devices), dedicated smartphones will also disappear. I think what we’ll see, rather than a line-up including the Galaxy S, Galaxy Note, and some kind of Samsung Galaxy Tab, will be an altogether different approach.
To illustrate what I mean, let’s conjure up a theoretical flagship, let’s call it the Samsung Galaxy F (F for Folding, of course) – it’s a device that starts out as a 5in-5.5in smartphone with an edge-to-edge Super AMOLED display, but unfolding a discrete panel turns it into a 7in-8in tablet. This replaces both the Samsung Galaxy S flagship and all of Samsung’s Android tablets.
Oh, and there’s no Galaxy Note category device either, because it’s no longer needed – the Galaxy F functions as both smartphone and tablet, rendering the phablet category irrelevant, and there’s a nice little S-Pen stylus tucked in the chassis for use in either phone or tablet mode. Lenovo has already demonstrated a concept device along this design and I think Samsung will almost certainly do something similar.
But can we really distil most of Samsung’s current portfolio down into one device? Probably not, again, I think there would need to be at least a budget device that is a smartphone and nothing but. I also think the FFOLED takeover could do wonders for the wearable market. So far wearables haven’t really caught on, because most users seem to feel that a smartwatch paired with a smartphone is somewhat redundant; but even having an independent smartwatch with its own connectivity doesn’t truly replace the smartphone for utility and ease-of-use.
How about a FFAMOLED smartphone which folds from a phone form factor into a wrap-around design which mounts onto a wrist strap? Here’s a concept from Korean designer Jeabyun Yeon to demonstrate – dubbed the Limbo – I can easily imagine Samsung making something like this and calling it the Samsung Gear F, or similar.
However, it’s hard to imagine Samsung’s portfolio, or indeed that of any other OEM following this route (and most likely will), from being much more diverse than this, other than having different spec variants at different pricing points; that seems pretty likely. These two devices really do cover all the bases (aside from tablet-laptop Windows hybrids, but that really is a different kettle of fish), including smartphone, tablet, phablet, and smartwatch.