The concept of an Android smartphone that you can fold up and put in your pocket is inching closer to reality. According to the latest leaked reports, Samsung's long-rumoured folding Galaxy X is set to make its debut in under a year. Here's what you need to know.
Update: Samsung's Mobile President DJ Koh revealed new details about the device today, including confirmation that it will be a tablet device that folds into a phone. Read the full report here!
Fresh details have emerged about Samsung's foldable smartphone concept - a product tentatively dubbed the Samsung Galaxy X. According to Samsung's DJ Koh, the X won't fold into a smaller form factor to enhance portability. Instead, it will go in the opposite direction, unfurling from a large phone into a full-fledged tablet. Here are the details.
Samsung has made no secret of its interest in foldable screens. The technology giant recently showed off a prototype at IFA 2018 and explicitly named "foldable OLED smartphones" as one of its key products for the next financial year. According to recent reports, the company already has its own production site dedicated to the techology.
The product was originally codenamed 'Samsung Galaxy X' but that name is likely to change; especially given the recent release of a certain iPhone model by Apple. Whatever it is eventually called, the product is almost certain to be the first folding smartphone with some serious clout behind it.
Samsung Galaxy X specifications
Samsung has yet to reveal much in the way of specs for the Samsung Galaxy X. Intriguingly, it has filed multiple design patents relating to folding phones and related technology. These range from a retro-esque clamshell design with a single screen to a phone that folds down the middle like a book.
According to the latest specification leak, Samsung's current prototype boasts no fewer than three OLED screens. Two of these combine into a seven-inch display, while the third appears on the phone's opposite side. Presumably, the third screen will allow you to access certain features when the phone is folded.
Samsung Galaxy X release date/availability
If leaked documents obtained by The Bell can be believed, we could be catching our first gimpse of the device at Mobile World Congress 2019 - less than ten months away. Generally, Samsung products appear in stores around a month after they launch on stage, although we wouldn't mark that in your calendar just yet. For now, we'd stick to a tentative release date of "sometime in 2019".
It is highly unlikely that this phone will be rolled out in the usual Galaxy numbers. After all, this is an entirely unproven product category - Samsung will want to test the market's appetite for foldable phones before it commits to mass manufacture. As such, getting your hands on the first batch of Galaxy X handsets is likely to be difficult. If quantities are kept deliberately low, Australia could even miss out entirely.
Samsung Galaxy X pricing
This is the million dollar question - and could be the factor that decides whether folding phones enter the mainstream or shuffle into obscurity. It's safe to assume that Samsung will be charging a hefty premium for this device, especially if it's first to market (see below.) It will almost certainly be a prestige smartphone sold in limited numbers. In other words, eBay resellers are going to make a killing.
What about other folding phones?
Samsung isn't the only phone manufacturer making noises about this technology. Huawei, LG and Lenovo are all working on flexible OLEDs of their own. This is definitely a space that smartphone enthusiasts will need to watch with keen interest.