Forward-looking: Samsung is reportedly cooking a foldable Galaxy Book in its labs, and with a bit of luck, we might be able to buy one in the coming years. The company doesn’t have the first-mover advantage here, but the device is rumored to come with a 17-inch display when unfolded, and there are many missing details that could turn it into an aspirational machine for other manufacturers.
Samsung’s obsession with foldable displays is hardly a secret at this point, and the company has already shown it’s committed to getting foldable smartphones right, from the tiny engineering details required to make them durable to the cost optimizations that make them affordable for enthusiasts who want to be on the bleeding edge.
The next logical step would be to get bolder with the form factor, and the Korean giant is certainly exploring more options in its labs. However, the rumor mill says the company is ready to move beyond smartphones and into the foldable PC territory. According to reliable leaker Ice Universe, the first step is the Galaxy Book Fold 17, a massive laptop that will eschew the traditional keyboard and trackpad to allow the screen to govern both the visual feedback and the input.
Details are scarce at this point, but Samsung did open up at SID 2021 about its vision for what a foldable clamshell should look like. When fully extended, this device would look exactly like a 17-inch tablet with a high-resolution OLED display. The webcam would most likely be embedded under the screen, and when the device is folded halfway, you’d be given a keyboard or any relevant set of controls on the bottom half of the display based on the app that is open on the top half.
The concept isn’t entirely new — last year’s Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold comes to mind — but the company has refused to call it a laptop and instead wants it to be perceived as a separate category of PC. If Samsung does decide to bring a Galaxy Book Fold 17 to market, it will likely need to position the device as anything but an oversized tablet or a gimped touchscreen laptop.
The first iteration may well end up being an expensive and unfinished product just like the Galaxy Fold of yesteryear, but maybe that’s exactly what this new category needs if it ever has a chance of taking off.