Samsung might upstage Apple's new iPhone by unveiling its foldable phone in 2018

Business Insider US

DJ Koh, the president of Samsung's mobile communications business.

  • The Samsung executive DJ Koh said on Monday that the firm might unveil its foldable phone, nicknamed the Galaxy X, in November.
  • Koh previously hinted that the phone was almost ready, but also complicated to develop.
  • A 2018 reveal could upstage the new iPhone, which is expected to be unveiled at Apple's September event but go on sale in November.

Samsung has hinted it may be ready to upstage Apple's new iPhone this year as it prepares to launch a foldable phone.

DJ Koh, the chief executive of Samsung's mobile division, told CNBC on Monday that the company might show off a foldable phone at the Samsung Developer Conference in November — around the time the new iPhone is expected to hit the shelves.

Koh didn't say when the foldable phone would actually be available to buy, though he has previously thrown out vague hints that it could be this year or 2019. In an interview with Business Insider last month, Koh said the phone was "not far away."

"It's nearing completion — we're currently focused on the user experience," he said at the time.

If Samsung shows off its foldable phone this year, it may encourage some potential iPhone buyers to hold off. The company could use the boost, given the sluggish sales for its previous flagship, the Galaxy S9.

Not much is known about the foldable phone, nicknamed the Galaxy X. It is likely to be the size of a small tablet, a little bulkier than a normal phone while folded, and will almost certainly be pricey.

For Samsung, one challenge is to create a device that will appeal to users over a normal tablet or jumbo-size phone.

"You can use most of the uses ... on foldable status. But when you need to browse or see something, then you may need to unfold it," Koh told CNBC. "But even unfolded, what kind of benefit does that give compared to the tablet? If the unfolded experience is the same as the tablet, why would they [consumers] buy it?"

Apple has sent out invitations for a September 12 event, where the firm is expected to launch three new iPhones. They are likely to be iterative designs rather than major innovations like 2017's iPhone X. All three phones are expected to sport the iPhone X's "notch" design and its edge-to-edge screen.

NOW WATCH: Everything we know about Samsung’s foldable phone

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