The Samsung Galaxy X Is A Phone That Unfolds Into A Tablet

The Samsung Galaxy X Is A Phone That Unfolds Into A Tablet
Image: TechConfigurations / YouTube

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.

During an unrelated product launch for the Galaxy A9 smartphone, Samsung’s mobile president DJ Koh revealed that the company’s ‘folding phone’ concept is actually a tablet. Users will be able to use the iPad-like device in full screen mode, then fold it up and put it in their pocket. In folded mode, it will provide the functionality of a smartphone.

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According to a previous leak, Samsung’s current prototype boasts no fewer than three OLED screens. Two of these combine into an extra-large display, while the third appears on the phone’s opposite side so you can continue to use it when folded.

Echoing comments he made last month, Koh told Cnet that the company was serious about delivering a ‘meaningful’ product rather than a gimmick destined to disappear a few months after launching.

“When we deliver a foldable phone, it has to be really meaningful to our customer. If the user experience is not up to my standard, I don’t want to deliver those kind of products,” Koh promised.

This suggests Samsung is attempting to create a new mainstream product category that will be manufactured in large quantities. (Prior analyst reports had predicted a “test run” of fewer than 300,000 units.)

“Possibly when we start selling the foldable phone, it may be a niche market, but definitely, it will expand,” Koh said. “I’m positive that we do need a foldable phone.”

Koh also confirmed that the device will be shipped globally which is great news for Aussie tech heads.

We still don’t know when Samsung will lift the curtains on the ‘Galaxy X’ but it could be very soon. Previous reports had pointed to a January launch to coincide with the Consumer Electronics Show. However, it now seems more likely that we’ll catch our first glimpse of the device at the Samsung Developer Conference on November 7 2018. (Yes, that’s less than a month away.)

There are some very compelling use cases for a smartphone that folds into a tablet. Over the past few years, smartphone sizes have crept ever-upward to fulfil the demand for more immersive displays. It’s got to the point where we’re practically lugging around 8-inch tablets. This solution will give consumers the best of both worlds.

Imagine unfolding your phone on the train ride home to watch the latest episode of Better Call Saul, then reverting to phone mode to call your partner. No longer needing to juggle two devices and their chargers is a compelling proposition in itself.

Provided it actually delivers on its promise, this device could be the boost that the stagnant smartphone industry desperately needs. And it won’t be alone – if reports are true, Huawei, LG and Lenovo are all working on flexible OLEDs of their own.

On the other hand, folding phones are by no means a sure thing and price will play a huge part in the success of these devices. Previous attempts to shake up the phone industry with detachable modules and tablet transformers have so far come to nought. Despite Koh’s assurances, there’s a very real chance this thing will slink into obscurity and early retirement.

Either way, this is definitely a space that tech enthusiasts need to keep a close eye on. In short: smartphones are about to get interesting again.

[Via Cnet]


  • 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.
    I’m sorry, what? It won’t fold down smaller, it instead folds out bigger? That statement makes no sense at all. If it’s open in tablet mode, it will fold down smaller. If it’s folded down it will fold out bigger. This is how folding works. It’s bidirectional.

    Semantic confusion aside, I’m really looking forward to what Samsung has come up with. I’ve wanted something like this for a very long time.

    • I probably could have explained that better. What I meant is that the phone isn’t a phablet that folds down into a more compact phone. Instead, it’s a tablet that folds down into a phablet. So extra big down to big, not big down to small.

  • Phone gimmicks are awesome! I’ve been getting bored of phones that are virtually the same just different logos and incremental differences in specs. Although I doubt this will be less than $2000 so there’s no way I’ll get it.

  • Interesting engineering project.

    Make it too thick and when in “phone mode” it feels like an old brick. Make it too thin, and risk structural strength when in “tablet mode”.

    Not immediately obvious how they will create the “tablet mode” screen. The text sounds like it’s two separate screens but driven as one. But the render looks like a single folding screen, for which the crease would be an obvious fatigue point = increasing risk of screen fractures with repeated use. Perhaps they have a trick method of increasing the fold radius and an incredibly pliable screen material.

    • I was thinking the same thing.
      A single flexible screen will wear out or be easily damaged if it’s flexible enough to not wear out.
      Dual screens (as you say, the text suggests) will likely have a visible join line due to needing a bezel, even if small, to make the screen structurally sound.

  • Wow. Microsoft really need to stop inventing stuff, trying to get it to market before it’s ready, chucking it in the bin, then letting other companies get rich off it. It’s really not working for them as a strategy.

  • I was really looking forward to an age of phones which fit comfortably in a pocket again. A current day 6.0″ phone folded in half, would resemble a wallet in dimension. A comfortable size for front or back pocket. Unfolded it would still be a generous phablet screen size. Samsung are mad if they are thinking a double thickness 6.0″ mobile that unfolds to reveal a square screen is going to excite people.

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