Samsung’s foldable phone now imminent

October 25, 2018

After years of speculation, the much-anticipated foldable Samsung Galaxy X smart phone could be revealed as soon as this November, and if it’s what many believe it will be, the X is set to be a game changer.

So, let’s dive right in and unfold some of the excitement surrounding the Samsung Galaxy X.

The Samsung Galaxy X (or F?)

Over the past few years Korean developer Samsung has not just hinted at, but actively promoted the fact, it was pursuing the idea of a foldable smartphone. 

But how it’s set to work and what it will look like remains very much a mystery, with a series of leaked patents all exploring some very different options.

Regardless, CEO of Samsung's mobile business, D J Koh, recently told CNET it would not be a “gimmick”.

"When we deliver a foldable phone, it has to be really meaningful to our customer," Koh explained. 

"If the user experience is not up to my standard, I don't want to deliver those kind of products."

Koh further noted the device would be able to be used as a tablet with multitasking capability before being able to fold it up into a more portable phone.

At the present most are tipping it will be known as the Galaxy X, but a few pundits have pegged it as the Galaxy F. The F mantle would seem unlikely, because quite frankly it doesn’t have the same ring. 

How will it work?

A wealth of theories surround the exact look and operation of Samsung’s foldable phone. Some tip it will feature a flexible OLED screen and vertical hinge that will allow users to open it like a book for specific tasks. Closed it may measure 4.6 inches (11.7cm), opened it would be 7.3 inches (18.5cm).

Others predict it may look a bit more like the flip phone of old, but with some extra flexibility in terms of the screen and axis.

 

Meanwhile, the Korea Herald says it will feature a 7.3-inch OLED display, which can be folded inward with a curvature radius of 1.5 millimetres. An extra 4.6-inch OLED display would then also be installed on one side of the phone. 

When will it be released?

Samsung has long pursued the concept of a foldable phone. Way back in 2013 it flagged the idea with the release of its flexible OLED display at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Then after years of waiting, on October 18 this year, Samsung Mobile launched a promo for their upcoming developer conference which sent the tech world into a frenzy over a small, seemingly innocuous graphic.

In the video there is a small horizontal line that opens into a right angled arrow and then unfolds into lengthier vertical line. 

Many believe this is the teaser to indicate the foldable phone will be unveiled at the November 7 event. And there’s further evidence to back this claim.

In September, Koh told CNBC “it was time to deliver”, and details of the foldable smart phone would be unveiled later this year.

 

“Details” is a key word here. The product Samsung unveils will likely be a prototype, with industry experts further tipping the actual phone will be officially launched at the Consumer Electronics Show or World Mobile Congress next year, and then go on sale after that.

Why a foldable phone?

Although tight-lipped on its actual design, Koh has also spent some serious air time over the past few months exploring the thinking behind and benefits of a foldable smart phone.

He told CNBC: "You can use most of the uses ... on foldable status. But when you need to browse or see something, then you may need to unfold it. But even unfolded, what kind of benefit does that give compared to the tablet? If the unfolded experience is the same as the tablet, why would they (consumers) buy it?

 

"So, every device, every feature, every innovation should have a meaningful message to our end customer. So, when the end customer uses it, (they think) 'wow, this is the reason Samsung made it'."

The price tag

All this innovation is unlikely to come cheap. Analysts suggest it will fall into the very upper echelon of the smart phone price bracket, possibly retailing for US$1800 (AUD$2500).

 

That said, state-of-the-art comes at a cost, and if the Samsung Galaxy X is all that it might be cracked up to be, it could just herald a new era of the smart phone.

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