PCWorld: Samsung teases its folding phone again, but what are the odds we’re actually going to see it?

Here are three possible scenarios.

The Future Unfolds
The Future Unfolds

In just about a week, it’s basically guaranteed that Samsung will take the stage at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco and unveil four new products: three Galaxy S10 models, including a new “budget” model, and the Galaxy F, better known as the company’s first real-world, non-concept, you-can-touch-it folding phone.

In case there was any doubt about that last one, Samsung sent out a teaser vid Monday with a thinly veiled reference to the fabled handset with curved, flowing text punctuated by the tagline, “The Future Unfolds.” Unless Samsung is engaging in some pretty epic trolling, that’s a pretty big clue.

Technically, the February 20 Unpacked event won’t be the first unveiling of Samsung’s folding-screen technology. At its developer’s conference in November, Samsung showed off something resembling a phone as part of its Infinity Flex display announcement.

The blink-and-you-missed-it reveal didn’t show much—and what it did show was heavily obscured by a chunky case—but it was proof that Samsung was far enough along with folding OLED technology to create a working prototype. It touched off the folding phone hype and has led to this moment, the long-awaited folding phone reveal.

Since that glimpse of Samsung’s folding screen, little-known phone maker Royole has actually beat everyone to market with its FlexPai folding phone. Available on a limited basis, it showcases the issues with folding phones 
more than anything else.

For one, the FlexPai doesn’t close tight like a laptop. The center hinge leaves a gap larger enough for a pen. And because it folds outwardly with the screen always showing, there’s a high likelihood for breakage, battery drain, and orientation confusion. 

Numerous videos on YouTube show the FlexPai getting confused when switching into tablet mode, or showing random flashes and stutters when bent. Whatever Samsung is working on will need to raise the bar considerably. And when the Galaxy F makes its debut, it will instantly become the gold standard for folding phones.

But the question remains: What will Samsung actually show us during Unpacked? Here are three possibilities: More

By Michael Simon

Staff Writer, PCWorld