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Samsung plotting ‘ultra-premium’ foldable smartphone for 2018?

Samsung is reportedly planning to produce foldable smartphone prototypes before the end of 2017.

In an article written by South Korea’s ETNews, Samsung is tipped to be working on “the final step of development” of a foldable smartphone, with a view to building a working prototype in the third quarter of this year.

Earlier this year, it was rumoured that Samsung would be showing off a foldable smartphone concept to some industry clients at Barcelona’s MWC 2017 tradeshow in February. According to ETNews, this did happen, although only a few select mobile network providers were reportedly given an opportunity to see it.

The next step, according to the article, is to build “thousands of prototypes” during the summer, which will be used to test quality and performance internally. Samsung is also said to be hoping to provide some prototypes to major mobile networks. The report goes on to claim that mass-production is “likely” to take place in 2018.

Watch: Foldable Samsung smartphone concept (2014)

The good news is that it sounds like Samsung’s foldable smartphone will be high-end, so it could be your flagship of choice for next year:

“Samsung Electronics is working on making [the] appearance of its foldable smartphone more luxurious and elegant as it is an ultra-premium smartphone. Although its goal was to provide prototypes of this smartphone in [the] first quarter, it has delayed timing as it has invested more time into raising [the] quality of the entire product. Its strategy is to introduce a high-tech product that is one step higher than regular flagship smartphones.”

Speaking to ETNews, an unnamed industry analyst is quoted as saying: “Although Samsung needs to implement qualities that correspond to its brand image, it is paying careful attention to Chinese companies as it looks not to lose ‘world’s first foldable Smartphone’ title to Chinese companies.”

The analyst continued: “However because it seems that South Korean companies and Chinese companies are looking to start producing prototypes around third quarter, competitions between South Korean companies and Chinese companies are going to become even more fierce.”

We asked Samsung for comment on this story, and received the following response from a spokesperson: “Samsung does not comment on rumour or speculation.”

Related: Best Android phones

What do you think about the idea of a foldable smartphone? Let us know in the comments.

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