The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 arrived without S Pen support – despite the rumors – but it seems that the next foldable phone in the series might at last add the stylus functionality that power users have been hoping for.
A report from The Elec, citing industry analysts, says that Samsung may switch the technology used in its S Pen stylus in order to get it working with the Fold series – from electromagnetic resonance (EMR) tech to active electrostatic solution (AES) tech.
As far as the end user experience goes, there isn't a huge difference between EMR and AES. From a manufacturing point of view, EMR is cheaper but has apparently been difficult for Samsung to integrate into its flexible screens. That may now prompt a rethink.
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Samsung is also reportedly looking at making its ultra thin glass (UTG) twice as thick on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 – 60 micrometers instead of 30 micrometers (a micrometer is a thousandth of a millimeter). That will help it stand up to the prodding of a stylus.
Folds and Notes
As we've already seen from the phones that have launched so far, producing devices with foldable displays is far from easy. Adding stylus support into the mix makes the manufacturing challenge even greater – though Samsung seems keen to pursue it.
There have been unconfirmed reports that Samsung is planning to phase out the Galaxy Note series and replace it with the Galaxy Z Fold series instead, and if that is actually happening then S Pen support on the Z Fold 3 makes sense.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 was only announced in August, so we're probably going to have to wait a while to see what Samsung has got planned. We haven't heard many rumors about a new Fold yet, but it could come with some interesting lighting effects.
Meanwhile the Samsung Galaxy S21 (or Galaxy S30) is being tipped to launch as early as January 2021, which may give us some more clues about which way the company is thinking when it comes to the Note and Fold phones later in the year.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.