Update, November 9, 2018 (11:17AM EST): We’ve added Samsung’s official details on its foldable phone, including specs and details from its announcement. Head below to learn more!
Samsung finally confirmed the first details about its foldable phone at the Samsung Developers Conference on November 7, 2018. When it gets released, it could start the next major revolution in the mobile phone industry, surpassing the current bezel-less display trend.
Samsung didn’t confirm a release date in its announcement on November 7 but indicated a release in 2019 is all but certain.
In this roundup, we take a look at what we currently know about the anticipated Samsung foldable phone, along with all of the rumors about this device that have been reported over the years.
We will be updating this article with the latest plausible news and rumors about this foldable smartphone from Samsung as they are reported.
Samsung foldable phone: Name, release date, and price
At its developer conference in November, Samsung announced the first details about its foldable phone. Samsung played coy, announcing its screen technology is called Samsung Infinity Flex Display but didn’t show us too much, dimming the lights to hide design details. Further, Samsung didn’t hint at a name or a potential release date for the device.
However, there have been consistent rumors relating to the phone’s production and speculated release date. In April, The Bell reported that Samsung planned to start production of the device in November with the aim of releasing it in early 2019.
At the beginning of July, MK cited a senior official from Samsung as saying that it is preparing to release the device in the first quarter of next year.
Those looking to get their hands on a foldable phone should perhaps start saving now, however: MK suggests Samsung will sell the device for close to 2 million won (around $1,791).
Whether that’s completely accurate or not, Samsung’s first folding screen phone certainly won’t be cheap.
In the middle of July, The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the project as saying Samsung will launch its foldable phone in early 2019 (which could coincide with an announcement at Mobile World Congress around February) and that the phone would then be available sometime in the second half of 2019. The same report also alleged that the phone could cost over $1,500.
Samsung foldable phone: Specs and design
Samsung did let us in on some details about the phone’s displays and user interface.
Samsung’s folding phone will have two displays: a tall 4.5-inch 840 x 1960 screen on the outside or front of the device, and a foldable 7.3-inch 1536 x 2152 display on the inside.
While Samsung had a prototype device on stage at the developer conference, it was encased in a thick box to stop people getting a proper look at it. Because of this, we are still unsure what the final version of the phone will look like.
Samsung did show some renders of a foldable device, however. These renders showed a device with fairly big bezels around the outer display and much smaller bezels around the inner, foldable, display. We don’t know if these images will be anything like the final design but we are expecting refinements.
Not much else was confirmed in terms of specs or the phone’s design. However, as expected, Samsung unveiled details about the device’s UI.
The layout of the UI will automatically change depending on whether the device is folded or unfolded. There will also be continuity between the two displays; if you are using an app on the front screen then open the phone, the app will automatically open on the larger inner display.
This was something Google also confirmed at its developer conference on the same day. Google said Android will soon support foldable devices and released an animation of how it could work.
Samsung also introduced multi-active window, a multitasking system that will allow you to run up to three apps at once on the larger display.
A video released by the Samsung Twitter account earlier hinted the phone will be usable in various positions. In the video, an animated icon moves from a fully folded position to a fully open position, stopping halfway through the animation. This suggests the phone will be usable when closed, partially open, and fully open.
Bloomberg also reported that the foldable phone will not feature an in-display fingerprint sensor due to the difficulties of putting such a sensor with the screen technology.
Samsung will probably want to equip the phone with a large battery to go with the large display. SamMobile reported that Samsung will begin producing flexible batteries with capacities ranging from 3,000mAh to 6,000mAh later this year.
Framework files XDA Developers unearthed referenced the unreleased Qualcomm Snapdragon 8150 chipset. This could be the marketing name for Qualcomm’s next flagship chipset and might be the first Qualcomm chipset with a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU).
Samsung foldable phone: Possible rivals?
While Samsung has been the biggest talking point in regard to foldable phones, it’s not the only company that has shown interest in this kind of device.
We have seen phones released with twin displays that fold into each other, connected by a hinge, from companies like Sony and from ZTE with the Axon M. The Royole FlexPai also beat Samsung to the punch as the world’s first foldable smartphone.
Huawei has also revealed it is working on a foldable phone of its own. Recent speculation indicates the company is working with LG Design on the flexible display for it, with an inward form factor, and that it was hoping to launch it by November, possibly beating Samsung to the punch.
In 2016, Lenovo showed off prototype concepts for a foldable smartphone and tablet, including a phone that could literally wrap around a person’s wrist (seen above). Since then, however, Lenovo has not revealed any plans to release the concept as part of a consumer device.
Are you excited about the prospect of a foldable phone from Samsung? Let us know in the comments.