For years, we’ve heard rumors about a Samsung foldable smartphone called the Galaxy X.
The phone still hasn’t surfaced — but Samsung’s mobile business head DJ Koh said on August 10 that it’s “not far away” during a press conference following the company’s Unpacked event where it announced the Galaxy Note 9 phone.
It’s tough to gauge DJ Koh’s “not far away” statement, whether he means 2018 or 2019. An earlier report from July suggested 2019 would be the year we finally get a peek at the Galaxy X, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A lot of phone manufacturers, including Apple, are also said to be creating similar foldable smartphones. But if Samsung stays the course, it might be the first to execute, since it has the added advantage of being the maker of the OLED display that make bendable screens possible.
Here’s what we know about the rumored Galaxy X smartphone, reportedly codenamed “Winner”:
The Galaxy X, as it’s been nicknamed, will reportedly be 7 inches diagonally when unfolded. That’s about the same size as a small tablet, giving more screen space than a traditional smartphone, in a smaller package.
Korean Patent Office
When the screen is folded in half “like a wallet,” there’s a smaller display screen on the front and cameras on the back, according to the Journal.
Samsung’s patents and prototypes show a device that either opens and closes from side to side like a book, or horizontally like a notepad. Either way, the fold will make it possible to incorporate bigger display options. It might also give users the option to split the screen into two panels that show different things or show one big picture, similar to what Samsung accomplished with its 48-inch ultrawide computer monitor — but that’s still speculation.
The foldable design might make it a little more fragile.
Jeff Turner/Flickr (CC)
Depending on the material of the outside layer, a smartphone that folds on itself could serve as its own screen protector, but the fold might create new issues in terms of durability, as indicated by Samsung exec DongJin Koh earlier this year
“We want to have a good reaction from customers once the phone is out in the market. But there are still durability issues that we need to address,” he told reporters at a press briefing at CES in January. It’s possible that pushing two screens against each other makes for a harsher impact on collision.
An additional concern with the amount of screen space is that multiple screens — meaning the ones on the outside and the inside — are more likely to make the battery overheat.
The Galaxy X could be bulkier than most modern smartphones.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
Most smartphone manufacturers have spent years making devices slimmer, and a foldable smartphone could be like adding a layer to a thin phone or stacking two thin phones on top of each other.
The ZTE Axon M, marketed as the first foldable smartphone, is made of two displays attached by a mechanical hinge — but it’s almost 1.5x thicker than Samsung’s Galaxy S9.
And if the size of the display is comparable to a tablet’s, then we can assume the device will be closer in weight to a tablet, too.
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