|Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, second from left, talks with researchers at the company's R&D center in Seoul, Thursday, while holding a smart device, which is assumed to be one of the prototype of new form factor phones. / Courtesy of Samsung Electronics|
By Baek Byung-yeul
While it has been more than a decade that bar-style smartphones with larges screens on the front have dominated the smart device market, Samsung Electronics has been trying to turn the trend around with so-called new form factor phones such as the Galaxy Z Fold or the Galaxy Z Flip phones that are folded horizontally or vertically.
For Samsung, which wants to retain its dominant status in the global smartphone market, launching new factor phones is essential to be positioned as a tech company that is capable of delivering a new smartphone experience to users.
The tech company is apparently developing another smartphone with a new form factor, with company Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong dropping a hint about what the future device will look like.
On Thursday, Lee convened a strategy meeting with high-ranking executives at the company's research and development center in southern Seoul. The meeting drew attention from the media as it was his first official outing since the death of his father and Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, Oct. 25.
Attention was also paid to the meeting as one of the photos officially released by Samsung showed the vice chairman holding a new smartphone previously unseen before by the public.
While talking with researchers at Samsung's Seocho R&D center, Lee was seen holding the silver smartphone.
Given that it looked thinner than the company's Z Fold and Z Flip, speculation has arisen that the device Lee held could be a proto type "expandable" smartphone that stretches out into a tablet.
In 2019, Samsung filed a patent for new smartphone designs with the World Intellectual Property Office for a smartphone with an expandable display that stretched out to the right instead of being folded.
Though Samsung didn't confirm anything about the phone, Samsung has announced it will keep launching new form factor phones. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in January, Samsung reportedly organized private demos of the expandable phone for clients.
Samsung revealed the meeting was held to discuss the company's future product design strategies. The company has held such strategy meetings since 2016, but the one on Thursday was the first companywide meeting regarding design directions for the company's future products ranging from smart devices to home appliances.