Samsung Attempts to Downplay Apple's new iPhones by Committing to a Foldable Note Smartphone for 2018
On September 4th Patently Apple posted a report titled "It's Circus Time: Apple Competitors race to discredit the coming iPhones as behind the Curve & Late to Market." In an effort to downplay anything new coming to the iPhone, Huawei announced this month that their next smartphone would introduce a dedicated AI chip ahead of Apple. Just yesterday Xiaomi launched their new Mi Mix 2 smartphone in an attempt to downplay the iPhone 8 by introducing several features the iPhone doesn't have like a speaker behind the display, a 5.99" display, a unibody design for better waterproofing at about half of what the iPhone X will cost. Last night Qualcomm went on the attack against Apple and Samsung decided to finally reveal that their 2018 Note smartphone would be their first smartphone to be foldable; a move designed to stay ahead of the iPhone knowing that a future version of the iPhone will be able to use Apple Pencil taking away the Note's advantage.
Ahead of the iPhone event in Cupertino this morning, Samsung decided to confirm that the 2018 will introduce a model with a foldable display. Below are two excerpts from a brief interview with the Korean press with Samsung's mobile division chief Koh Dong-jin.
Q: Apple's new iPhone will be unveiled a few hours later. What is the competitiveness of the Note 8 over the new iPhone?
A: "We are not developing our Galaxy Note and S series phones to compete with rivals. All the newly adopted technologies are in line with our long-term product roadmap. It took four years for us to develop an iris scanner, four years for the IP68-level dust- and water-resistance, and six years for Bixby's voice recognition."
Six years to develop Bixby? Samsung acquired Viv last October, so the six years in development was on Viv's part, not Samsung's.
Q: What is the timeline for Samsung's foldable smartphone? Will it be rolled out under the Note brand?
A: "Samsung has the foldable smartphone in its roadmap for the Note series and is currently working to solve a series of hurdles before unveiling it next year. Samsung will not roll out the foldable smartphone as a stopgap product, but as a well-made flagship that can appeal to consumers."
Samsung had been possessed with a future foldable smartphone for years and our Patently Mobile IP blog mainly covering Microsoft, Google and Samsung patents has recorded a number of those from Samsung on foldable smartphones (one, two, three, four and more). Their latest design patent for a foldable device surfaced last week with patent figures as noted below.
Of course we don't know if Samsung's announcement is really in stone. In fact Samsung revealed in April that a foldable smartphone would be delayed until 2019 at minimum. So why commit now to 2018 timeline now? Because it's Circus Time and Apple's competitors want to cause a distraction in the smartphone world to dampen anything Apple may reveal later today, that's why.
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