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article imageSamsung may be planning a folding smartphone for January launch

By James Walker     Sep 16, 2015 in Technology
Samsung could be working on an all-new style of smartphone featuring a display that folds in half. Such a device may launch in January, according to a recent report, and would be the latest in a long line of Samsung mobile display innovations.
Noted Samsung blog SamMobile reports the phone will include 3GB of RAM and a micro SD card slot alongside the option of two different processors. Buyers will choose between Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 820 or the lower-end Snapdragon 620. Presumably, the latter option will come at reduced cost.
The stand-out feature of the device will remain the folding chassis though. Such a design would make the handset's footprint smaller while being carried in a pocket but still facilitate the large display sizes that are popular today.
It's unknown exactly how the screen will fold or indeed what size and resolution the display will be. Samsung is likely intending this device, currently known as Project Valley, to be a testbed for further developments, a trend seen numerous times with Samsung's innovations in display technology.
In 2010, Samsung was the first smartphone manufacturer to use a Super AMOLED display on a phone and it has continued to pioneer the technology since. These screens have better colour reproduction, wider viewing angles, deeper contrast levels and faster reaction speeds, making them much more suitable for use on mobiles than traditional LCD panels.
In 2014, Samsung launched the Galaxy Note Edge, becoming the first manufacturer to include an "edged" curved display allowing extra information to be displayed along the side of the phone. The technology, initially viewed by many as a niche development with little functional value, quickly developed into a much more accomplished feature and is now present on the flagship Galaxy S6 Edge which has Edge displays on both sides.
It is likely that this pattern will be followed again with any folding phone that makes it to market. A slightly odd device will confound the market before rapidly maturing into a serious technology for the future.
"Project Valley" is also the testbed for another component beside the display. The usage of the Snapdragon 820 processor confirms that Samsung is working with Qualcomm again after shunning the firm with its Galaxy S6 line and using its own in-house Exynos chips instead. It is thought that next year's Galaxy S7 will again be offered in either Snapdragon or Exynos variants, like with 2014's Galaxy S5.
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