This will be the next big thing … at some point.
The mobile industry has been tracking this rumored Samsung "Galaxy X" prototype phone for several months, and while we don’t even know if that’s what the phone will actually be called, it’s what the current rumor mill has been spitting out. In any case, here’s what we know and what to look forward to with Samsung’s upcoming foldable smartphone.
The foldable Galaxy news
February 11, 2019 — Samsung’s foldable phone will be announced on February 20
On February 20, Samsung’s holding an event in San Francisco to unveil its Galaxy S10 series. This is something we’ve known for quite a few weeks at this point, but now it’s clear that the new S10 devices won’t be the only phones being unveiled.
This morning, the official Samsung Mobile Twitter account shared the following teaser video:
— Samsung Mobile (@SamsungMobile) February 11, 2019
The tagline "the future of mobile will unfold on February 20, 2019" is incredibly suggestive that Samsung will be using its Unpacked event to properly unveil its highly anticipated foldable phone.
February 2, 2019 — Samsung teases foldable phone in futuristic YouTube video
Samsung uploaded, deleted, and then re-uploaded a new Samsung Galaxy spot called "The Future". The video shows some current Samsung products like the Note 9, but mostly displays futuristic concepts of Galaxy devices such as a Galaxy tablet that’s linked to a robotic tattooing arm or a USB-C dongle that functions as an ultrasound, but the real star of the show is buried in the middle: a 2.3-second peek at a foldable Galaxy phone.
If you don’t want to keep rewinding those two seconds, here they are in GIF form:
This has obviously been touched-up in post and the screens are simulated — as most phone screens in commercials are — but it’s a beautiful peek at Samsung’s foldable phone, and that’s a peek we will enjoy. As tomorrow is the Super Bowl, chances are this video was Samsung’s spot for the Big Game that was accidentally uploaded early, but whatever the case, it’s here now and maybe it actually have more than a teasing peek at the Galaxy X/F/whatever during the Galaxy event on February 20.
January 10, 2019 — Samsung’s foldable phone may be shown off on February 20
Earlier today, Samsung confirmed that it’s holding a press event on February 20 to officially announce its Galaxy S10 series of flagships. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Samsung will also use the event to showcase its upcoming foldable phone.
WSJ notes that we’ll see a "fully functional foldable-screen handset", suggesting that we might get a look at the finished product rather than it being hidden in a box like it was at the Samsung Developer Conference when we last laid eyes on the phone.
While we’re not expecting the Galaxy X (or Galaxy F, whatever you want to call it) until later in 2019, this would be a good stage for Samsung to show it off once more and reveal any progress it’s made since November.
January 9, 2019 — Samsung’s foldable phone will be released in the first half of 2019
It’s been a hot minute since we’ve had any developments on Samsung’s foldable phone, but at CES 2019, that finally changed:
While speaking to Jeremy Kaplan, Digital Trends’ editor-in-chief, at our CES booth, Suzanne de Silva, Samsung’s director of Product Strategy and Marketing, confirmed that the new phone is slated for release in the first half of 2019.
While we don’t have an exact month to look forward to, the first half of 2019 is more specific than the previous timeframe we had of just some point this year.
November 11, 2018 — Samsung "Galaxy F" foldable phone could be ungodly expensive
After this week’s Samsung Developer Conference gave us our first look at Samsung’s foldable displays, analysts are starting to tell us how much it might cost, and the price one told The Korea Times is not for the faint of heart. Are you sitting down?
2 million won. That’s how much a head brokerage researcher thinks the "Galaxy F" could approximately cost before carrier subsidies. That comes out to about $1,770 in US currency, and for that money you could buy:
- 1 Google Pixel 3 and 1 Google Pixel 3 XL
- 3 OnePlus 6Ts and 3 Bullets Wireless headphones
- 7 Moto G 6’s
- 35 Google Home Mini
Scary as that number is on its own, I think what’s scarier is that with smartphone prices rising higher and higher the last two years, this number might not be as over-inflated as it seems. Samsung’s Infinity Flex display has taken years of costly research and refinement, and the price tag of the first Samsung phone to take use it will no doubt reflect it.
We’re still months away from the release of the Galaxy X or Galaxy F or whatever the name may be, and prices — and the global economies that drive them — can change a lot before then.
November 7, 2018 — Samsung details the specs for its Galaxy X foldable phone
Samsung showed off its foldable phone earlier today, and now the manufacturer has detailed some of the key aspects of the device. As noted by CNET‘s Shara Tibken, the Galaxy X has a fold-out design that transforms the phone into a tablet, with the phone part featuring a 21:9 4.58-inch screen with a resolution of 1960 x 840.
In tablet mode, the screen extends to 7.3 inches with a ratio of 4.2:3 and a resolution of 2152 x 1356. The pixel density in both modes is 420 ppi.
November 7, 2018 — Samsung is working with Google to develop guidelines for foldable devices
Samsung is partnering with Google to create developer guidelines for the "best experience" on foldable devices. In the short-term, Samsung will release an emulator that will let devs test how Android 9 Pie-based apps behave with changing screen sizes.
Starting with next year’s Android Q, Google will add support for foldable and multi-screen devices, and there will be an AOSP emulator that will allow for more fine-tuned testing.
November 7, 2018 — Samsung shows off its foldable display tech for the first time
The Samsung Developer Conference 2018 was held today, and while we didn’t get an actual product announcement for a foldable smartphone, we did see a live demo of how the foldable screen tech works.
Samsung’s calling its foldable panel "Infinity Flex," and during the opening keynote, we saw a live demo of a device built with Infinity Flex. The gadget itself was hidden in a large case as to not reveal its actual design, but what we did see is that Infinity Flex has one display on the front, and when opened up, reveals a large 7.3-inch panel that’s not interrupted by any black bars or bezels.
Google’s already announced native Android support for foldable devices, and apps will be able to transition seamlessly from both the inside and outside of the display based on what you’re doing.
Mass production for Infinity Flex will begin on the coming phones, so while we’ll have to wait a little while longer before we can purchase one ourselves, we’re a heck of a lot closer to the long-awaited Galaxy X than ever before.
November 5, 2018 — Samsung begins teasing its upcoming foldable phone
They did it. They finally did it! After years of endless back and forth rumors, Samsung’s officially begun marketing for its upcoming foldable phone.
If you take a look at Samsung Mobile’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, you’ll see that the profile picture has been changed to show the Samsung logo folded underneath itself — obviously hinting at the foldable Galaxy X smartphone.
It’s still unclear when exactly the Galaxy X will be announced, but a report from late last week claimed we’d learn more about the phone at Samsung’s developer conference that’s taking place on November 7 and 8.
October 12, 2018 — Samsung’s foldable phone will basically be a pocketable tablet
The folks at CNET recently had a chance to speak with DJ Koh (Samsung’s head of mobile) about the upcoming Galaxy X, and during their conversation, Koh offered some further details about what we can expect from the upcoming foldable phone.
Per CNET‘s article:
DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung’s mobile business, said you’ll be able to use the device as a tablet with multitasking capability before being able to fold it up into a more portable phone.
We’ve been expecting that the Galaxy X will offer more screen real estate compared to traditional phones, so it’ll be interesting to see how close of a tablet experience it really is able to offer.
The Galaxy X is still scheduled to arrive at some point before 2018 is over, so stay tuned.
September 4, 2018 — Samsung confirms a folding phone will be launched this year
While there’s been no doubt that Samsung’s working on a foldable smartphone, one detail we haven’t had a definite answer on is when the thing will be released. That’s now changing, however, as the company’s CEO of its mobile division — DJ Kohn — confirmed to CNBC that a folding phone will launch at some point this year.
Koh told CNBC that "it’s time to deliver" and that Samsung has "nearly concluded" its development of the phone. We’re still uncertain how exactly the foldable nature will be implemented, but during IFA in Berlin, Kohn went on record saying:
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’.
July 18, 2018 — Galaxy X reported to fold in the shape of a wallet, might cost over $1,500
A report from The Wall Street Journal surfaced this morning outlining a few key details we can expect from the Galaxy X. When describing the design of the phone, part of the report notes that:
The screen can be folded in half, like a wallet, these people said. When folded, the exterior of the phone boasts a small display bar on the front and cameras in the back, they added.
Furthermore, it’s said that the Galaxy X has a screen that measures in at 7-inches diagonally.
As for pricing and availability, WSJ notes that the Galaxy X has "taken on a greater sense of urgency in recent months" and that its price tag could reach well beyond $1,500. The phone’s expected to be released at some point in early 2019.
All the big details
Samsung’s folding screen tech is called "Infinity Flex"
At its 2018 Developer Conference, Samsung announced that its foldable AMOLED panel is called "Infinity Flex."
Infinity Flex consists of two different displays — a smaller one on the front that looks like a traditional phone, and when you open it up, there’s a large 7.3-inch panel inside. Unlike other foldable smartphones, the actual display is bending rather than a separate hinge. That means no black bars or bezels covering the display. It’s just one, gorgeous, uninterrupted screen.
Per Samsung’s announcement:
Users now have the best of both worlds: a compact smartphone that unfolds to reveal a larger immersive display for multitasking and viewing content. The app experience seamlessly transitions from the smaller display to the larger display as the device unfolds. Also, users can browse, watch, connect and multitask without losing a beat, simultaneously using three active apps on the larger display.
The device seen in the pictures above is likely what we’ve been referring to as the "Galaxy X," but that large, chunky body isn’t what it looks like. It’s simply a dummy case to hide what the phone’s real design, but the function of the foldable panel will work the same come launch time.
Android natively supports foldable phones
Just before Samsung’s conference, Google officially announced support for foldable smartphones.
With this native support, apps will be able to adjust and rearrange themselves based on whether they’re being used on the smaller display or the larger, folded-out one.
Google’s referring to this process as "screen continuity" and is best to be thought of as an evolution of how elements on your screen move around when you go from portrait to landscape mode.
The phone will be released during the first half of 2019
If you were hoping to rush out and buy Samsung’s foldable phone soon, you’re unfortunately going to have to wait a little while longer.
Samsung says that it’ll begin mass production of its Infinity Flex displays within the coming months, meaning we’re looking at a release at some point in 2019.
Getting a bit more specific, Samsung’s Director of Product Strategy and Marketing confirmed during CES 2019 that the phone will be released during the first half of the year.
Furthermore, a teaser video from Samsung suggests that we’ll get another look at the device at an Unpacked event on February 20, 2019.
February 11, 2019 at 04:38AM