Samsung shows off its foldable phone for the first time
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 latest Galaxy X news
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.
Samsung’s new Infinity Flex Display will hit mass production soon, enabling foldable phones of all kinds
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.
Mass production will begin in a few months
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. We currently don’t have anything more specific than that, and while the price is unknown, don’t expect it to be cheap.