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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Samsung foldable phone to be launched next year

South Korean company’s smartphone chief DJ Koh says firm will bring the device to market in the first half “no matter what”

Justin Denison, senior vice president of product strategy and marketing for Samsung Electronics America Inc., speaks during the Samsung Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. Samsung showed off a new phone with a foldable screen in a bid to shake up a smartphone business awash with black, shiny rectangles that look increasingly similar. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Justin Denison, senior vice president of product strategy and marketing for Samsung Electronics America Inc., speaks during the Samsung Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. Samsung showed off a new phone with a foldable screen in a bid to shake up a smartphone business awash with black, shiny rectangles that look increasingly similar. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

South Korea's Samsung Electronics will roll out its foldable phone in the first half of next year and produce at least 1 million of them, local media reported, citing the company’s smartphone chief DJ Koh.

The company's Justin Denison, senior vice president of product strategy and marketing for Samsung Electronics America, gave a glimpse of its foldable-screen phone at a developer conference in San Francisco last week without providing details on its price, name or release date. Mr Koh, president of Samsung’s mobile communication business, said after the event that he would launch the device in the first half “no matter what”.

A new version of the foldable phone will be unveiled every year like Samsung’s flagship phones, such as the Galaxy S9. The company may raise the production volume of its foldable devices depending on market reception, Mr Koh was quoted on Sunday as saying. Samsung shipped more than 300 million phones in total last year, according to TrendForce, a market research firm.

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The world’s biggest phone maker has set up a team with Google to develop a software interface for the foldable phone since Mr Koh met with Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, two months ago.

Samsung and other smartphone makers are trying to revitalise slowing demand for smartphones as users around the world wait longer to upgrade their devices. Samsung plans to release a cheaper version of its flagship Galaxy S10 next year to appeal to consumers growing more cost-conscious, Bloomberg News reported last month.

5G also provides Samsung with a “big opportunity” next year, Mr Koh said, as the plan to make the fifth-generation mobile networks available has been moved up by nine months, according to media.