Samsung’s president of mobile business Koh Dong-jin has confirmed that the South Korean phone maker is planning to launch a foldable smartphone in 2018. Additionally, the executive also confirmed that Samsung is indeed developing its own voice-controlled smart speaker.

“As the head of the business, I can say our current goal is next year,” Koh said Tuesday. “When we can overcome some problems for sure, we will launch the product.” The executive was a press conference at the time, showing off the newly announced Galaxy Note 8.

Rumors of a foldable Samsung smartphone have been going around for quite some time now since the company has been seen working on it for years. Back at CES 2011, Samsung showed off a 4.5-inch flexible AMOLED display, as pointed out by Phone Arena. In 2013, the company also showcased another flexible display prototype called Youm.

Earlier this year, Samsung was rumored to launch its flexible smartphone at IFA 2017 and the device was even dubbed as the Galaxy X. That rumor of course didn’t end up being true and Samsung Display’s principal engineer Kim Tae-woong even stated that the technology for that kind of phone won’t even be ready until 2019.

“Because the bezel-free display currently sells well, we still have enough time to develop foldable display. The technology is expected to be mature around 2019,” Kim said at the time.

With Koh stating that Samsung is planning a 2018 launch for its foldable smartphone, it seems like the company is fast-tracking the device’s development. That said, the executive did mention that Samsung needs to “overcome some problems” before launching the product. What exactly those problems are remains unclear, but it does mean that it could still be delayed to 2019.

Koh also didn’t specify what the Samsung foldable smartphone will look like. Bloomberg’s report from 2016 claimed that Samsung was working on two types of foldable devices: one that folds inwards like a clamshell phone, and another that folds out to turn into a 7-inch tablet.

Right now, the current smartphone trends are large displays and ultra-thin bezels. If Samsung does release a foldable smartphone in 2018, the South Korean phone maker could disrupt the smartphone industry and become the leader of the foldable smartphone race.

Another thing that Koh discussed briefly was Samsung’s plan to release its own smart speaker. The executive revealed that Samsung is actually working alongside Harman Kardon to make this new device a reality. He didn’t give out much information about Samsung’s smart speaker, but he did say that users would be able to simply speak in order to play music and “conduct other tasks.”

Amazon’s Echo speakers are still leading the AI-powered  smart speaker race, while Google Home is trailing behind. Apple has already announced the HomePod and it will be released this coming December. Koh didn’t say when the Samsung smart speaker will be released, but it’s very likely that it will be powered by the company’s own Bixby digital assistant.

Samsung Samsung plans to release foldable smartphone in 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji