Samsung is reportedly working on a double-folding phone to add to its lineup, according to Nikkei Asia (via 9to5Google). According to the article, the phone would fold into three segments using two hinges and could be announced “as early as the end of this year.” The phone would be a third option in Samsung’s foldable lineup, joining the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip, both of which are also expected to appear in new versions this year.
According to the report, the design is still being finalized, but Nikkei’s sources say its screen could have a more standard 16:9 or 18:9 aspect ratio, making it easier for app makers to design for than the 25:9 screen found on the Z Fold.
We’ve seen phones with multiple folds before: Xiaomi’s folding phone prototype folded at two points, but the company has reportedly adopted a more Galaxy Fold-like design for its upcoming foldable. Huawei’s Mate X2 foldable also uses a similar design to Samsung’s. It would be a bit ironic, then, if Samsung’s working on a double-folding design after others adopted its single-fold style.
It’s possible that Samsung is introducing the new type of foldable to ease its power users into a transition to the form factor. Samsung says it might be skipping a new Galaxy Note this year but wasn’t exactly clear on why. There was talk of streamlining its phone offerings and of the global chip shortage, but this could be a test to see if Note users are ready for the fold. By giving customers three foldable options to choose from, Samsung could be trying to make it as likely as possible that people will find one that works for them.
It’s likely the multifold phone’s release will depend on whether Samsung can figure out how to navigate the chip shortages that have been affecting the entire industry. Folding phones are already more difficult to make than standard smartphones, and if Samsung’s not able to get the chips it needs, it could push the company’s plans back. Still, it’s exciting to hear that Samsung is working on a third type of foldable, as it indicates that Samsung still sees the form factor as the future.