First foldable screen phone due in 2019

Samsung Electronics is planning to introduce a smartphone that features a foldable-screen next year.

The prototype device, internally going by the code name Winner, has a seven inch screen diagonally, according to a report in the WSJ, citing unnamed sources, which said the screen can be folded in half, much like a wallet.

When folded, the exterior of the phone will have a small display bar visible on the front and cameras in the back. Unlike a traditional flip phone, the device when opened would be almost all screen, giving consumers a large display akin to a tablet, the report said.

Foldable-screen devices, including even TV sets, have been mooted for several years now as they will bring a number of benefits to consumers but developing and manufacturing them has proven a challenge. There are several other phone makers believed to be developing their own versions. Other manufacturers have launched smartphones that fold, but those devices used two screens connected by their phone frames.

For the phone companies, foldable screens could help boost a handset industry that is lagging to find new features to impress as sales start to slide for the first time ever. IDC estimates that smartphone sales declined 0.3% in 2017, the first annual decline in the industry's history.

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