The first foldable smartphones may come from Samsung in Q4 2017
But that might change by the end of this year, as Samsung is expected to make the first move in this unexplored territory. Sources from Taiwan's handset supply chain claim Samsung is already working on its first foldable smartphone and will begin small production of the device in Q4 2017.
The information comes in line with previous reports stating that Samsung could showcase a foldable smartphone prototype later this month at Mobile World Congress (MWC). The said prototype will feature a flexible AMOLED display, but the rest of the phone's specs are unknown at the moment.
Even though Samsung is expected to start small production of its first foldable smartphone by the end of 2017, due to technical issues involving manufacturing and reliability of PI (polyimide-based plastic cover), mass production won't be possible until next year.
PI is a key component for the manufacturing of foldable smartphones, and Samsung has yet to refine the manufacturing method to meet the reliability and quality requirements for mass production. That being said, Samsung is unlikely to kick off mass production of foldable smartphones until the second half of 2018.