Foldable phones hogging the headlines right now, after reports from Korea suggested Apple has teamed up with LG to start work on a new iPhone which utilises the futuristic tech.
But if you're a keen tech-watcher, you'll know that we’ve been here before, with a number of big name mobile makers exploring the next–generation display smarts in recent years.
So, what are these screens? What difference will they make? And when will you be able to lay your hands on one?
Read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Expect to see screens that actually bend
Curved screens have been a staple of the smartphone scene for years, found on Samsung’s flagship Galaxy devices.
However, the screens on futuristic foldable phones can bend, meaning users can contort them in different ways and potentially change the way they interact with them.
Devices in the works
Samsung’s Project Valley scheme has long been touted as the future of foldable phones.
It's said to be working on two devices: a tablet that folds into a smartphone and a clamshell phone with a touchscreen that will work in different ways depending on whether it’s folded or open.
LG has previously looked into the same tech. Talking of which...
Including a next–generation iPhone
Apple and LG are said to be working together to create a folding display for a future iPhone.
LG is believed to have set up a special team to investigate how this tech can be mass produced, with its parts division busy working on components that will make the device tick.
Apple is thought to have chosen LG because it does not wish to share foldable screen secrets with Samsung’s parts division, for fear that it may pass them onto the teams that develop and make Samsung’s smartphones.
First phones will land in 2018
It’s been widely reported that Samsung will release its first foldable phones in 2018.
However, much was made of Project Valley making an appearance in 2017, only for the devices to be pushed back. Samsung may use Mobile World Congress next February to show off its wares, but don’t expect a release any time before summer.
But Apple is willing to wait
Korean insiders say Apple and LG’s products won’t be ready until 2020.
This tallies with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s assertion this week that he isn’t interested in his company being first to market, rather that it gets it perfect first time.
Like facial scanning this year, nailing foldable phones is a long game that Apple is willing to play in order to ensure it can launch a product that ‘just works’.