Stop us if you heard this before, but Samsung has a folding smartphone in the works.
Credit: Graphene Square Inc.The phone, either called the Galaxy X or the Galaxy F depending on who you talk to, seems to have been in the works for years. In that time, countless reports have speculated on whether Samsung’s device would fold in or out, be the size of a smartphone or a tablet (or both), and ultimately attract an audience in a decidedly flat and rigid smartphone market.
With Samsung apparently getting closer to finally unveiling the phone, it's time to look at all we think we know so far about the Galaxy X.
Latest News (Updated Sept. 10)
- According to The Kore Herald, the Galaxy X will be unveiled in 2018 but not fully launched until 2019. This is consistent with remarks from Samsung's DJ Koh, who hinted in a September interview that we could see the Galaxy X launch as soon as November, at the company's developer conference.
- A report out of Korea claims the phone will feature a 7.3-inch OLED screen when unfolded.
Release Date and Cost
We could see the Galaxy X in the flesh as soon as early November. That's according to an interview between Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh and CNBC. Koh said the foldable device would debut in 2018, potentially during Samsung's developer conference, which kicks off Nov. 7. While he couldn't offer any specifics as to when the phone might actually go on sale, Koh did mention that Samsung has "nearly concluded" its development.
This is far from the first time we've been told we'd see the Galaxy X in 2018. During a Jan. 31 earnings call, the company stated it plans to "differentiate [itself] through development of cutting-edge products such as foldable OLED smartphones." Even last year, Samsung executives were hinting at a folding phone release in 2018.
While the Galaxy X could be unveiled in November, it may not necessarily be released then. Some rumors have suggested a 2019 launch, either at CES in January or Mobile World Congress in February. Samsung's main flagship, the Galaxy S10, is also expected in the spring of 2019.
Indeed, a Sept. 10 report from The Korea Herald claims the Galaxy X will be briefly unveiled before the end of 2018, but won't go on sale until 2019. A proper launch could take place at CES in January or Mobile World Congress in February.
It's still unknown how much the Galaxy X might cost, but it's potentially going to be a lot. The head of research at Golden Bridge Investment told the Korea Times that the phone could run 2 million won, which translates to $1,841 in U.S. dollars. Even if Samsung were to adjust pricing based on region, you'd still expect to pay a lot for a foldable phone, since the Galaxy Note 8, which doesn't fold, debuted at $929.
Most reports about Samsung's foldable phone plans have zeroed in on the device being called the Galaxy X. But one Twitter user says those reports have it wrong.
That would be @MMDDJ_, who posts a lot on phone leaks and seems to suggest that the Galaxy X will instead be a gaming-focused phone. As for the folding phone, that will apparently be called the Galaxy F.
We'd be a little cautious about that rumor, if for no other reason than the letter F is typically associated with a failing grade in the mind of consumers (at least, here in the U.S.). For now, we're going to keep calling the rumored phone the Galaxy X until more evidence surfaces that Samsung is planning a different name.
The Galaxy X’s design has been a bit of a moving target over the last few years, as reports have offered conflicting details on exactly how it might look and operate.
Credit: Patently MobileBack in 2014, a Samsung executive said that the company was considering a flexible smartphone that could fold in half. At the time, the executive said that the smartphone would arrive in 2015.
That design concept was bolstered in 2016, when a Samsung patent surfaced showing a device that could fold like a flip phone of old. The smartphone in the patent had a hinge at the middle that would allow you to fold it in one direction. It also came with a camera on the back.
Soon after, another patent was discovered that showed a smartphone with a wavy design with multiple curves along its axis. While it was similarly foldable, it appeared to have a bit more flexibility than the other version of the handset.
But that’s far from the only reports we’ve seen over the years. Others, including one from GalaxyClub, suggested that the smartphone would be similar to a Galaxy S8 but taller. A competing rumor claimed that the smartphone would be thinner than most devices, since folding it could make it more difficult to fit inside pants pockets.
The design rumors haven’t stopped there. One report has Samsung’s folding smartphone offering a two-sided screen, which would create far more display real estate than you’d find elsewhere. Exactly what you’d do with your fingers while you’re holding the device and trying to not to interact with the software, however, is unknown.
In December 2017, Let's Go Digital obtained a patent filing from Samsung that appears to show a folding smartphone with a hinge-like connector between two screens. One of the screens would apparently be the smartphone itself. Interestingly, the patent shows a device with thick bezels and a physical home button.
The other display has a similar design but ditches the home button, front-facing camera, and other components. It appears that second component is little more than a secondary screen. The connector between the two not only keeps the device together but ensures connectivity and interaction between the components.
Aside from that, the Galaxy X would ditch the bezels altogether, leaving nothing but screen, at least on its face. Given that the foldable phone would launch under the Galaxy Note brand, it’s also possible it will sport an S Pen stylus, similar to the Galaxy Note 9.
An earlier report from ETNews suggests that Samsung is looking at a design where the phone would fold two-thirds of the way. That would leave a portion of the screen always visible, displaying the time or letting users see incoming calls without having to unfold the phone.
Credit: SamsungFor what it's worth, Samsung just announced a flexible OLED panel it bills as indestructible. (And it's got the video to prove it.) It's unclear if this is the technology the phone maker would use in a folding smartphone, but it certainly seems to have the durability and bendability such a device would demand.
Reports on screen size have been all over the place, though with the Galaxy X coming closer to its unveiling, we seem to be getting a little clarity on how big the phone will be.
As far back as 2017, Samsung’s smartphone was though to have a display around 5 or 6 inches. However, with help from an unrolling mechanism built into the smartphone, that screen could actually be unfurled to 8 inches, if not more, when fully extended.
Credit: Almesryoon.comAccording to ETNews, the Galaxy X will feature a 7.3-inch OLED screen when unfolded. The screen will unfold on a vertical axis, like you would open a book, and you'll only need to unfold the screen for certain tasks. The rest of the time, you'll use a 4.6-inch flexible OLED.
That's at odds with another report from The Korea Herald, which claims the phone will consist of three 3.5-inch panels. Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh has stipulated there won't be any breaks or hinges between the screens, however. In other words, even though the company may opt for a triple-screen setup, the experience should still be a consistent and seamless one.
Speculation abounds that Samsung will make the Galaxy X a high-end device that could ultimately run on a powerful processor like the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip, but Samsung hasn’t confirmed that. The Galaxy S9 was the first to get that chipset.
Beyond that, we haven’t heard about camera quality yet, nor has anyone confirmed whether this foldable phone would incorporate the fingerprint-, iris- and face-scanning features found on current Samsung flagships. Samsung is reportedly working on an embedded fingerprint sensor for upcoming phones, though it's unclear if such a feature would find its way into the Galaxy X or if it would debut with next year's S10 instead.
See Also : 10 Best Galaxy S9 Accessories