Screenshot, Samsung
Samsung Mobile CEO DJ Koh told CNBC at the IFA electronics show that it is “time to deliver” a foldable smartphone.

SALT LAKE CITY — Samsung’s D.J. Koh, CEO of the company’s mobile business, said a foldable smartphone will likely arrive and be similar to a tablet.

He told CNET that people could use the foldable phone as a tablet before folding it into a small smartphone, combining the two major tech devices into one.

"When we deliver a foldable phone, it has to be really meaningful to our customer," Koh told CNET in an interview. "If the user experience is not up to my standard, I don't want to deliver those kind of products."

Why it matters: Samsung would be the first major phone developer to deliver on this concept, according to The Verge.

  • The company Huawei plans to release a foldable phone, but in limited qualities.
  • Both Lenovo and Xiaomi have teased the idea, while LG has invested in foldable technology.

Big deal: Doh said the device wouldn’t be a “gimmick product” that will "disappear after six to nine months after it's delivered."

  • “When we deliver a foldable phone, it has to be really meaningful to our customer,” Koh told CNET. “If the user experience is not up to my standard, I don’t want to deliver those kind of products.” Although he expected the hybrid device to initially find a niche market, he said that he believed it would expand, and that “we do need a foldable phone.”

Earlier this year: Samsung teased the foldable smartphone back in September. I reported that Koh said the phone could be ready by November when Samsung hosts its Developer Conference. No details were given.

Here’s what he said back then, according to CNBC.

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  • "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. 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?" Koh said.
  • "So every device, every feature, every innovation should have a meaningful message to our end customer. So when the end customer uses it, (they think) 'wow, this is the reason Samsung made it,’” he added.