Think the Samsung Edge display was cool? Something cooler is on the way. We’ve been hearing about foldable displays for a number of years, and Samsung is close to releasing a phone using this technology.
There are rumors galore, right down to what the phone may be called — everything from the Galaxy X to Galaxy F (not to be confused with the Galaxy S10 that we also anticipate), or even the Galaxy Fold has been suggested.We’ll be referring to it as Samsung’s foldable phone to keep things simple until an official name is revealed. Here’s everything we think we know about it so far.
While the folding screen is likely to be the headline-grabbing feature, what about the rest of the phone? The camera may be borrowed from the forthcoming Galaxy S10, according to an ETNews report, which says it will have a “similar” triple-lens camera to the S10, consisting of a dual-lens setup and a third ultra-wide lens.The sensors will be made by a division of Samsung itself. Because the Galaxy S10 is not official yet, this is difficult to verify, but sounds plausible enough.
What else? According to Lets Go Digital, the Samsung foldable phone will feature a 6,000mAh battery, and will be powered by an Exynos 9820 processor in South Korea, or a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 elsewhere. While Samsung recently invested billions in a foundry to create 7nm chipsets, the newly announced Exynos 9820 SoC is actually based on 8nm architecture. There is a chance, however, Samsung will release a 7nm with 5G capability for its upcoming folding smartphone and a 5G enabled Samsung Galaxy S10.
Release, price, and availability
So when should we expect to see Samsung’s folding masterpiece? Rumors suggested that the phone won’t make its way to consumers until some time in 2019, and at the Samsung Developer Conference in late 2018, Samsung said that it would be ready to mass-produce foldable displays in the “coming months. It’s possible the phone will be announced at Mobile World Congress in February 2019, according to the South Korean Yonhap News Agency.
What about the price? In November 2018, Gizmodo UK claimed there would be several models of the Galaxy X, priced between 1,500 – 2,000 British pounds (approx. $1,900-2,550) However, Kim Jang-yeol, head of research at Golden Bridge Investment, says the phone could cost as much as 2 million won at release, Korea Times reports. In the U.S., that converts to about $1,850. More recently, a report from Lets Go Digital, which cites Korean analyst CCS-CIMB Research, suggests that the phone will come at $1,800 without carrier subsidies. Either way, the Samsung’s folding phone may be the most expensive handset the South Korean tech giant has ever released.
And while most phones in Samsung’s Galaxy lineup are available worldwide, its upcoming folding flagship may be a little more difficult to come by. A representative with Samsung told Gizmodo UK, “The foldable device will launch by the first half of 2019 in select markets. We are currently ready for its mass production and expecting at least 1 million units to be produced.”
Once thought to to be the Galaxy X or the Galaxy F, Samsung’s folding phone has been referred to by a dozen different names. However, as we get closer to its expected launch, we’re learning more about the phone every day.
After years of rumors, it looks like we may finally have a name. The Dutch tech website Let’s Go Digital, unearthed a trademark application filed in Turkey on November 28, 2018. In the application, a company requested a trademark for the name Samsung Galaxy Fold. In the company name field, the application states “Legally Restricted Until Publication Date,” however we’re nearly certain Samsung filed the application since the trademark request is for a product that includes the already trademarked Galaxy name. Of course we can’t be absolutely certain this is for Samsung’s upcoming folding smartphone, the application states the brand name trademark is for a Class 9 device, which includes smartphones and mobile phones.
Infinity Flex Display
What do we know about the amazing folding screen? Samsung offered a first look at the new phone at its 2018 developer conference. It was mostly hidden from view, but we were able to see the foldable part in action with the screen.
The new display is called the “Infinity Flex Display.” It’s designed to be folded and unfolded repeatedly without degrading the display quality. Samsung said it can be folded hundreds of thousands of times without showing signs of wear and tear. The display was wrapped in a chunky outer shell that Samsung said was specifically done to keep the design a secret. We do know that the screen will measure 7.3-inches when folded out, and a second 4.6-inch screen will be visible on the outside when the device is folded up, according to ETNews.
On stage, we saw the display was folded and unfolded a few times. When unfolded, the device looked largely like a tablet — and when folded up, the outer display immediately activated and displayed whatever app was open at the time.
Unfortunately, Samsung hasn’t revealed much about the design of the phone, beyond the display and what it can do. Samsung is working with Google to develop a new user interface for Android on its smartphone — dubbed OneUI — and it will allow for features specific to foldable phones.
Concept drawings and patents may give us an idea of other possible designs. A Samsung patent discovered by LetsGoDigital titled “Foldable Electronic Device Including Hidden Display and Information Display Method Thereof,” illustrates a foldable smartphone with a second display that is partly covered until the device is fully folded — which is when it will activate. From the images, it looks like the display is hidden under the top rear of the device when it’s unfolded and then comes out once it’s closed. While it hasn’t been confirmed, this could be how the hidden display will function.
The hidden display is where you will see information like texts or notifications, whether you’re in portrait or landscape mode. That way, you’ll be able to see important alerts without having to unfold the phone each time. The patent also states the touchscreen will be compatible with an S Pen.
Patent image for the Samsung foldable diplay discovered by Patent Mobile.
Before this, a different patent filed by Samsung showed how a folded and unfolded foldable phone might operate. As Patently Mobile reports, a user could touch an icon on the edge area of the phone so that the app will be open once the device is unfolded. Multiple user profiles would also be displayed on the edge, allowing multiple users to enter passwords to access information from the device’s edge.
Updated on January 3, 2019: Added in rumors regarding the Samsung folding smartphone’s camera.