Will Samsung surprise us with a rollable smartphone at its upcoming Galaxy Unpacked event?

Innovations emerge every day in the consumer electronics space. They may seem mundane today, but billions of people use smartphones every day, things we could only imagine decades ago. As if that wasn’t astonishing enough, foldable smartphones are becoming mainstream and rollable devices may be just over the horizon. A handful of phone brands are now competing to launch the first rollable smartphone and one of them is Samsung. We only heard a brief word this spring about an extra special device that might get some time in the spotlight this summer, it looks like the first rollable devices could be here sooner than expected. This begs the question: will we get to see a rollable phone at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event?


The short answer is “probably not”. Samsung will officially unveil its flagship Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 smartphones, along with other devices such as the Galaxy Watch 5 series and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, at the Galaxy Unpacked event. There has been no trace of the word “rollable” in reference to the event.

what there used to be was a spring rumor about a special device called “N4” or a “Project Diamond” unrelated to the Flip 4 and Fold 4 that may or may not appear with Unpacked. It may have been described as a foldable device rather than a roll-up device, but it’s been agreed that it probably won’t go on sale this year.

Before we go too far in talking about a ‘rollable smartphone’, let’s not lead you astray about what to expect.

As with any good collaboration with big teams of designers and engineers, Samsung is still making its presence known in the room. SamMobile reported in April on one of its patents depicting a potentially rollable phone design. Samsung also showed rollable displays at the Society of Information Displays’ Display Week in May (via Android Authority) with some prototypes similar to what the above patents show.

These so-called “Flex Slidable” form factors have a sliding chassis that can show the entire screen or a smaller part of it when the device contracts – a scrolling section inside would save the unused portion of the panel.

Ultimately, though, we’re not confident that Samsung will have a definitive rollable smartphone product. There are a number of stages in the development and manufacturing processes for any new product where intelligence can leak more easily. The lack of that information suggests a lot of nothing.

One of the bigger technical hurdles has to do with the expansion and contraction of the device. With internal hardware intended to fit into the smallest possible iteration of the expandable form, we look at challenges in the wiring between parts (more wire, more risk of failure, less performance), the durability of the actual components and the thermal envelope among others. But from what we can see, this appears to be Samsung’s approach as well as the wider competition to integrate rollable screens into smartphones and it’s a safe bet that there will be a Flex Slideable phone or phablet (or both) eventually.

However, we wouldn’t be surprised if such a device shows up on Unpacked. Companies should always be in the market, so this should come as no surprise. Oppo and LG were the first to get started with tangible roll-up concepts in 2021. However, Oppo’s phone fell short of the company’s lifecycle goal of surviving 200,000 device extensions and contractions during its testing phase (via The Verge). And lest we forget that LG Mobile gave up the company last April.

Sure, Apple and Chinese display maker TCL may have their own intellectual property, but the trails on their products weren’t all that exciting to follow, especially considering neither of them has bothered to enter the foldable phone market. enter, let alone Google.

Samsung has a great opportunity to lighten the crowd with a tantalizing tease of what it thinks a “rollable phone” should be. Will it cost a lot? Secure. But that detail falls far short of what many actually want to know: when is it coming? Should the company come across this moment during Unpacked on August 10, we wouldn’t be surprised. On the contrary, if it doesn’t, we may have a problem here.

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