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Galaxy X: Everything we know about the price, specs, release date for Samsung’s foldable phone

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Samsung reveals off its prototype foldable phone.


Angela Lang/CNET

The foldable phone period has formally begun. Samsung launched the world to its first foldable phone this week, a tool rumored to be known as the Galaxy X or Galaxy F. This was not a typical announcement with each element on show as they had been for the Galaxy S9 or Note 9 unveiling. Rather, Samsung teased its foldable phone by means of a brief video and by hoisting aloft a working prototype in an govt’s hand on stage.

Although Samsung by no means displayed the foldable phone up shut — not even behind museum glass — the machine is lots actual. It’s conceptualized sufficient to earn Google’s backing. In reality, Samsung’s mission appears to have spurred official Android support for all foldable telephones, regardless of the producer. Meanwhile, Samsung gathered builders in a Wednesday afternoon session to share just a few extra particulars, resembling the phone’s 4.5 and 7.3-inch screen sizes.

Despite the dribs and drabs of data, the foldable phone’s temporary onstage look raised more questions than answers. Here’s what we know — and what’s nonetheless to come back.

What’s the phone known as?

Samsung did not give the foldable phone a reputation, however rumors recommend that it will be known as the Galaxy X or Galaxy F. The “F” may stand for “fold” or “flex”. The “X” would possibly imply “extra” or “10”, since there are 9 Galaxy S telephones out — although we do anticipate to see a Galaxy S10 round March this 12 months.

What is a foldable phone?

If we go by Samsung’s definition, a foldable phone is a tool with a mobile connection (therefore the “phone” half) that appears like a pill when it is full opened and might near seem like your traditional phone. Samsung’s prototype has a tablet-like display screen that closes inward like a guide, however Royole’s FlexPai, one other foldable phone, has an outward-folding display screen, which implies the “screen” is on the exterior. There’s no single definition.

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Didn’t ZTE make a foldable phone?

Last 12 months’s ZTE Axon M was an early model of a foldable phone that hooked up two separate phone screens by means of a central hinge. Samsung’s foldable phone (and Royole’s FlexPai) seem to have unibody shows that fold at the midpoint. A magnet secures the FlexPai’s display screen in the “closed” place.

We can credit score the Axon M with exploring totally different new methods to make use of a dual-screen machine; Royole has already adopted a few of these, for instance, mirroring the contents of each screens so folks on both facet of a desk can watch the identical video clip. ZTE may very effectively provide you with a second-generation foldable (or “foldable”) phone.

What’s the advantage of a foldable phone?

There are two major benefits. First, a foldable phone can greater than double your accessible display screen house. For instance, Samsung’s mannequin has a four.5-inch show that you’re going to use when it is closed. Then the inside opens right into a 7.Three-inch display screen. You may argue that you’ve got the equal of three shows to work with.

A bigger display screen provides you an expanded viewing floor, nevertheless it additionally unlocks totally different ways in which you should use your machine. For instance, Samsung’s foldable show will allow you to multitask in three areas directly.  ZTE’s Axon M permits you to use the whole display screen for one app, load a separate app on every display screen, or mirror the identical app on each screens.

What occurs whenever you open and shut Samsung’s phone whenever you’re utilizing an app?

Like the Royole FlexPai, this foldable phone will robotically switch the app or display screen you are in the folded-up “closed” place to the “open” place, and vice versa. We observed some lag right here on the FlexPai, however have not had an opportunity to see how Samsung will deal with the transition.

What’s so nice about Samsung’s show?

Samsung created a brand new show for its foldable phone, the Infinity Flex Display. The firm stated that it needed to modify the traditional layers which might be a part of any show (that is what lights up the “screen” you see in your phone). All shows are made from layers, however they’re often stacked and unmoving. The Infinity Flex Display makes use of a brand new adhesive that Samsung developed to laminate the show layers to allow them to flex and fold a whole lot of 1000’s of instances.

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The firm additionally wanted to make the Infinity Flex Display thinner than some other cell show. It lower the thickness of the polarizer layer, which helps make the display screen legible, by 45 p.c.

When will Samsung’s foldable phone go on sale?

Samsung stated it can begin mass producing the phone in the “coming months.” The foldable phone will seemingly begin promoting in 2019. We anticipate Samsung to carry a separate launch occasion to introduce the particulars. Again, this was only a sneak peek.

How a lot will it value?

The brief reply is that we do not know as a result of Samsung hasn’t introduced it. However, it is easy to guess that this might be an costly machine. The Royole FlexPai’s foldable phone for builders prices $1,318 for a tool with 6GB RAM and 128GB of inside storage. The model with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage goes for $1,469.

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Apps will be capable of work three other ways on the foldable Samsung phone’s display screen.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Since Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 for energy customers begins at $999, it is a truthful guess cutting-edge foldable phone would simply begin at $1,500, if no more. We can anticipate devicemakers like Samsung (and Royole) to justify excessive costs primarily based on complete display screen actual property. After all, they cause, you are getting a pill and phone in a single — and phone costs are solely getting higher.

What’s the battery life like?

Samsung goals to present its foldable phone battery life that lasts so long as present Galaxy smartphones, stated Jisun Park, the engineering director and head of the system software program group for Samsung’s cell enterprise. That’s regardless of the reality there’s extra lively display screen to empty the battery. The US model of the Note 9 lasted for a mean of 19 hours and 20 minutes in CNET’s looping video drain test.

Where is the battery anyway?

We haven’t got entry to the design particulars, however batteries do not bend. Expect a big battery to take a seat on one facet and plenty of of the different elements to stability it out on the different. One main criticism we had with the ZTE Axon M was that it felt imbalanced with the half containing the battery drastically thicker and heavier than the different half. Samsung must be careful for that.

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Samsung’s new Infinity Flex Display on its first foldable phone.


Angela Lang/CNET

Is that image what the foldable phone will actually seem like?

Almost undoubtedly not. Samsung confirmed off a prototype mannequin, commenting that the actual elements had been hidden inside. Samsung is not prepared for the public — or opponents — to see a closing design.

If there’s one breadcrumb formally left us about the foldable phone’s eventual form, it is in the new One UI working system. The firm talked about that the rounded rectangular edges that type a significant design motif are supposed to match its units’ rounded edges. The prototype foldable phone has 90-degree edges and thick bezels. We can anticipate a softer look.

What is the machine made from?

Materials are an enormous deal as a result of consumers have been conditioned to spend extra for aluminum, ceramic and glass. But the FlexPai makes use of a plastic display screen and physique to attain flexibility and preserve prices in examine, and the ZTE Axon M traded down digicam high quality and different elements to maintain it inexpensive.

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Royole’s FlexPai phone represents one other imaginative and prescient for foldable telephones.


Angela Lang/CNET

It’s doable that the foldable phone may have a minimum of one plastic display screen. When CNET requested, Samsung’s Park instructed throughout a session for builders that the exterior display screen may presumably have a distinct materials topping the show than the inside display screen. Our guess is that the four.5-inch display screen may very well be made out of Gorilla Glass whereas the 7.Three-inch display screen inside may very well be made out of plastic.

Samsung didn’t reply to a request for remark.

How does it work?

In common, you will begin utilizing the foldable phone such as you would your traditional phone, after which open it whenever you need to benefit from the bigger display screen house. Samsung did not share particulars about how the and software program share messages.

Does it run on Android?

Yes, however there’s extra. Samsung introduced that the foldable phone, and future telephones, will run on a redesigned model of Samsung’s customized software program known as One UI. Samsung is making the One UI beta accessible this month, however solely for Android 9 Pie customers. It’s a good wager that the foldable phone will launch with Android Pie.

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Which apps will work on the phone?

It’s nonetheless early days, so we haven’t got many particulars about apps. That’s a part of the cause Samsung unveiled the machine at SDC, its developer convention: To get builders on board with supporting the phone. Samsung’s in-house apps, resembling SmartThings, will presumably work on the machine, and longtime accomplice Flipboard confirmed off its preliminary efforts on an app.

Since the largest profit is the capability to multitask — working three apps at one time or accessing extra options in a selected app directly — the onus is on builders to create compelling apps that work seamlessly on the foldable phone. Samsung is counting on app builders to assist innovate as they did with stylus-compatible apps for the Galaxy Note.

When you open the machine, does the smaller display screen go darkish?

At the second, Samsung’s design will “turn off” the four.5-inch display screen and open your app on the bigger 7.Three-inch inside display screen, selecting up the place you left off.

What’s Samsung’s competitors like?

Small at this level, however the future seems to be fierce. The clamshell ZTE Axon M is not a significant competitor, and neither is the Royole FlexPai, although it beat Samsung to a genuinely foldable show. But we do know that LG and Huawei have their very own plans for foldable telephones in the works. LG is rumored to launch as early as January at CES 2019.

Will Samsung promote its foldable shows to different devicemakers?

During an SDC panel Wednesday, a developer requested when Samsung would promote its show expertise to rivals. It declined to touch upon that risk, however Samsung is considered one of the world’s main show panel producers. It’s seemingly it can ultimately promote the expertise to opponents to make use of in their very own units.

Is this all for actual?

A foldable phone could really feel like a pipe dream, however that is one fantasy that will really come to life. Questions stay about the worth, practicality and comfort of utilizing a foldable machine.

What comes after foldable?

“Our innovation pipeline includes rollable and stretchable displays,” Samsung’s Denison stated Wednesday throughout the presentation.

CNET’s Shara Tibken contributed to this story.

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