Samsung Reconsiders Foldable Smartphones as Fear of another Market Blunder Weighs Heavily on the Company
When Samsung is having a tough year they try to pull off a few magic tricks for the Wall Street Investor community. Patently Apple posted a report back in 2014 titled "Samsung Throws a Hail Mary at Wall Street Analyst Meeting." We noted in that report that in late 2013 Kwon Oh-hyeon, vice-chairman and CEO, Samsung Electronics, told analysts at a closed meeting that they "would lead innovation by introducing the 'foldable' display in 2015." When 2015 rolled around, that story changed again. We reported in 2015 that at the last moment "Samsung scrapped a plan to unveil a new Note-branded device called the 'Fonblet'" at an IFA event. Was that Samsung's imaginary foldable product that's been forecasted for years? Yes of course.
After following this never ending story for years now, I posted a report yesterday titled "Why is Samsung Racing to launch their first Foldable Dumbphone? In the report I noted that certain foldable designs could have some potential down the road, but that their current focus on a foldable dumbphone wasn't going to fly as a consumer product and that their dumbphone would likely be reduced to being a trade show gimmick. At best, the dumbphone would act as a tester device for their new folding mechanism and little more.
Today we learn that an investigative report from a Korean publication has peeled back Samsung's secret veil surrounding their foldable device program as being nowhere near being ready as a viable consumer product.
Due to the Note7 disaster, the company is nervous about introducing anything that could backfire on them. Pushing the envelope at this time could sink Samsung's reputation once and for all if it failed, caught fire, or bombed in the market.
They're clearly not in a gambling mood at this point in time. Yet considering that they promised Wall Street analysts back in 2014 that they "would lead innovation by introducing the 'foldable' display in 2015," we can now confidently say that their grandiose vision of greatness was nothing short of a purposeful bald faced lie.
Today's Korean tech report further noted that sources they've spoken to have stated that "the company is not sure whether there is sufficient market demand for the costly, foldable devices."
Later in the report these same sources reveal that Samsung is having problems with display curvature issues. To address that, Kolon Industries announced last month that they'll be set to mass produce next-generation transparent polyimide films for Samsung's foldable devices that will address the curvature issue. But there's one catch, that won't happen until sometime in 2018.
That's Samsung's traditional song and dance called "next year." Yes, it's coming. Yes, it's just around the corner. Yes, look at our prototype, it's real. Oops, there's a small glitch but remember, it's coming "next year."
Well Samsung, here's my prediction: Next year we'll see Apple's anniversary iPhone come to market and kick your ass to kingdom come while we await the entrance of your fantasy foldable dumbphone that nobody wants or even cares about. And that you can take to the bank.
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