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Samsung's Galaxy X Will Morph From Tablet to Phone

We've heard a lot of details about Samsung's long-promised folding smartphone, save for perhaps the most critical feature — how exactly you're going to use the phone.

But another clue about the foldable Samsung phone just dropped, and it comes directly from Samsung.

Credit: TechConfigurations/YouTube

(Image credit: TechConfigurations/YouTube)

Speaking to CNET, Samsung's D.J. Koh, who runs the company's mobile business, says that the device will essentially be a tablet that folds up into a phone you can put in your pocket. That will allow you to use the Galaxy X — or Galaxy F, if that's what Samsung ends up calling it — for multitasking and other activities that require a larger screen. Then, when you're done, fold up the device into a phone-sized shape for easier portability.

MORE: Samsung's Foldable Galaxy X: Specs and Release Date Tipped

"When we deliver a foldable phone, it has to be really meaningful to our customer," Koh told Cnet following today's unveiling of the more conventional Galaxy A9 phone in Malaysia. "If the user experience is not up to my standard, I don't want to deliver those kind of products."

Koh's comments provide a little more clarity to the mystery of how the Galaxy X will unfold into a tablet. At least one rumor suggested the phone might only fold two-thirds of the way, leaving a portion of its display always visible. Other rumors gleaned from patents have suggested a flexible display that relies on an electrically activated locking system. Reports out of Korea suggest the Galaxy X's screen would fold out into a 7.3-inch display.

What Koh seems to be suggesting in this new interview is a phone that will open and close like a book.

One thing that Samsung is more definitive about is when we can expect to see this foldable phone. Koh has said earlier that the device would ship this year, with many expecting it to appear at next month's Samsung Developer Conference. And Koh contends in this recent interview that the foldable Galaxy phone would have wider appeal over time.

"Possibly when we start selling the foldable phone, it may be a niche market, but definitely, it will expand," Koh told CNET. "I'm positive that we do need a foldable phone."

Philip Michaels
Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.