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Changing tack: Samsung to reveal some popular features of foldable phone this week

SEOUL (Reuters) – Keen to generate its foldable smartphone our next popular trend, Samsung Electronics Co will depart looking at the usual policy of keeping product plans highly secret and provides some information of the phone’s key features for app developers soon.

The goal is garnering critical feedback as new technology need developers to tweak apps to make sure they operate correctly when the phone folds out into tablet form.

Samsung needs to grab the foldable phone right – hoping it should reverse steep declines in profit for their mobile division and restore several of the premium cachet its brand has lost to Apple Inc.

The move also underscores a completely new degree of caution in product planning from costly recall due to the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 in 2016.

“Unlike our flagship products, the foldable phone is a brand spanking new concept when it comes to design and buyer, which uses a different approach,” said a Samsung official who declined to become seen as specifics of the product cant be found yet public.

“Before we bring it to your market, you want to tell developers what we’ve succeeded in doing so far and find out what we think about it,” a state said.

Foldable phones hold the commitment of allowing consumers to do much more complicated work that might normally be practiced over a tablet or laptop, though a machine that becomes a great deal more compact.

The South Korean tech giant is truly one of some firms which may have flagged that foldable phones are going to be visiting for market soon. Eventhough it has to date been mum on exactly when, analysts expect a launch date within the first 50 % of 2019 – any later and Samsung would run the risk of new Apple phones stealing its thunder.

China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] in addition has said hello is intending to launch a 5G smartphone which has a foldable screen in mid-2019.

Both, however, are already pipped into the post by Royole, a Chinese display making start-up, which yesterday unveiled a foldable phone which includes a 7.8 inch screen, priced from around $1,300. It stated it will begin filling orders from late December, although little may be known around the firm’s projected sales.

Lee Kyeong-tae, Samsung vice president for mobile communication, said a while back the phone’s software shall be unveiled for an annual conference for app developers which can occur in San francisco bay area on Wednesday.

Another Samsung official with understanding of the challenge told Reuters it will likely be to begin with that detailed images of the new phone will be presented in public.

Expectations that the phone itself will probably be presented are, however, low.

High costs are expected to stop foldable phones from immediately becoming big hits, and several analysts even doubt there is huge appetite for this sort of product.

But if Samsung can make some buzz within the new phones, it may be a welcome salve due to the mobile division, which just last week reported quarterly profit tumbling by the third, squeezed by competition with Apple and also as Chinese rivals fix up their mid-range products with features the same as Samsung’s.

Research firm Strategy Analytics forecast in May global sales of just 1.Two million foldable phones buy though should soar to around 64.9 million phones in 2023. That is going to, however, make up just 3.5 % of projected global smartphone sales.

“First, Samsung has to show foldable smartphones are commercially viable. Should they become established well enough to consider an area in flagship product line-ups just like the S-series and Note-series, then foldables may indeed help turnaround the company’s underperforming mobile business,” said Greg Roh, an analyst at HMC Investment & Securities.

($1 = 1,120.7000 won)

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Ju-min Park; Additional reporting by Sijia Jiang in Hong Kong; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Edwina Gibbs)

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