Samsung folding phone revealed – all the facts

The Samsung folding smartphone is here! Infinity Screen Galaxy X is real.

There was a time that Samsung only really had Apple to worry about. However, Huawei, Xiaomi, and in some respects OnePlus and Honor should be taken very seriously now. This situation is great for the likes of us, consumers, though. For a start, it has pushed Samsung to promise us something entirely new for its next flagship smartphone, dubbed the Samsung Galaxy X. Well, at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco yesterday, that’s precisely what it did.

Samsung Galaxy X reveal

samsung galaxy x folding phone official

It’s been a long time coming. In fact, Samsung promised us a folding phone (The Foldiplay) back in 2013, but who are we to complain?

Justin Denison, SVP of Mobile Product Marketing chatted about the challenges of developing a folding display. All very interesting but that’s not what everyone was waiting for. Then, Denison whipped out the prototype of the Samsung Galaxy X to much applause.

Actually, the phone hasn’t been officially named, but the screen has. Welcome to the stage the Samsung Infinity Flex Display.

If we go by what DJ Koh, Samsung’s President and CEO of IT & Mobile has said recently, it sounds that we can expect this device to be the first in a series of foldable handsets. It’s been a long time coming, but a significant change to the soap bar handset monotony is on the horizon.

Furthermore, Samsung has also confirmed that it is working on foldable laptops and tablets too. We suppose that once you’ve spent all that money on engineering folding screens, you’ll want to get your money’s worth. If that’s the case, can we expect folding 4K HDR tellies too?

Samsung Galaxy X first look

samsung galaxy X infinity display

So, we got our first glimpse of the Samsung Galaxy X folding phone at Samsung’s Developer Conference. It was shown off in its folded state as well as unfurled. However, Justin Denison told us that:

We’ve disguised some elements of the design but trust me, there’s a device inside here, and it is stunning.

DJ Koh added:

The foldable display lays the foundation for a new kind of mobile experience.

Watch the reveal at the full event below. The phone appears near the end, of course.

Samsung Galaxy X screen

samsung scd galaxy x infinity display reveal

This is obviously the star of the show.

These days screen real estate is at the forefront of every smart device design. With the Galaxy X, this is especially true.

With the new Samsung device, we saw that there will be one phone-sized screen on the outside of the phone. Additionally, when you open the phone up, you are rewarded with one that’s twice the size. When the phone is folded, it will trigger the front-facing display that will function as a typical smartphone screen.

Samsung Galaxy X screen specs

Again, nothing definite was confirmed last night by Samsung. Although, this did not prevent Denison from make some quite strong claims:

We’ve been living in a world where the size of your screen can only be as large as the device itself. Well, we’ve just added a new dimension. The Infinity Flex Display is the foundation for the smartphone of tomorrow.

The display, when unfolded, apparently measures 7.3-inches.

He went on to add that the phone could be folded “hundred of thousands of times.”

Samsung Galaxy X One UI

Samsung ONE UI

Having super sweet screen swagger means shizzle without swanky software.

So, how will the Galaxy X adapt to users swapping between the phone screen and the tablet screen? Imagine, all those apps will have to move from one screen to the other seamlessly. How about multitasking? Will open apps resize automatically? Well, all of that is handled, promises Samsung.

Samsung ONE UI

Most of this will be taken care of by Samsung’s new interface called One UI, also announced at the November 7th event.

Samsung’s press release states:

The Infinity Flex Display together with One UI delivers a new kind of mobile experience allowing users to do things they couldn’t do with an ordinary smartphone. Users now have the best of both worlds: a compact smartphone that unfolds to reveal a larger immersive display for multitasking and viewing content. The app experience seamlessly transitions from the smaller display to the larger display as the device unfolds.

Regarding multitasking, One UI will enable the Samsung Galaxy X to run three apps simultaneously when in tablet mode. Also, the redesigned icons allow better integration. According to Jee Won Lee, Senior Designer of UX Design at Samsung Mobile: “the rounded corner of our hardware is reflected in our software.”

Samsung ONE UI

Initially, One UI will be land on the Galaxy S9, S9+ and Note 9 in open beta. This exercise should help to iron out any wrinkles in the software before it heads out on the new Galaxy flagship.

Samsung Galaxy X features

The short version here is that no features were shown off at the official Galaxy X debut. However, DJ Koh, Samsung mobile chief, said that the long-awaited folding flagship would offer similar functionality to a tablet when the screen is unfolded.

samsung dj koh

Before dismissing the sizable screen, we must remember that, when the company first launched its Galaxy Note series back in October 2011, naysayers mocked the 5.3-inch display.

DJ Koh pointed out that eight generations of the phablet later large-screen devices are now ubiquitous. It’s hard to ignore the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max and 6.3-inch Google Pixel 3 XL.

Koh said:

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

As expected, everything points to the Galaxy X being compatible with the company’s S Pen digital stylus. This information fits nicely with the whispers we’ve heard of the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines merging next year.

Other features that we would expect to see include 5G connectivity and an in-screen fingerprint reader. Waterproofing and wireless charging are also on our wish-list for this top-flight device.

One thing that I would like to know more about is the camera. Will Samsung use the clever display tech to distract potential buyers from a camera that is merely OK? Let’s face it, with everything else this pocketable device will be doing, will there be the space to fit multiple lenses and image processing? I do hope so but, right now, I’d brace yourselves for some possibly average image capturing tech.

Samsung X battery

Wireless charging brings us neatly to the other deciding factor for many – battery life.

A brace of screens, especially that monster folding one, could impact battery life in wrong ways. However, if we think about it a bit more, as one screen will always be visible, that would cut down on locking and unlocking the tablet sized one.

Interestingly, reports from Asia suggests that Samsung has been working on a flexible battery to go in a flexible phone. The battery sizes have ranged between 3,000mAh and 6,000mAh. I would say that, in this instance, more is more.

Samsung Galaxy X under the hood

If mass production is already happening, we are assuming that the Galaxy X will be loaded with the Snapdragon 845 successor. Unless, of course, Sammy has gone down a more unique route for this unique device.

RAM will most likely come in 4GB or 6GB flavours with internal storage anywhere from 64GB upwards. However, if this is to be an all-singing, all-dancing, Galaxy S/Note love-in, I would suggest that Samsung slings in 128GB and 256GB as the cherry on top. That’s if they can make it fit.

Samsung Galaxy X availability

Let me cut to the chase here. At the November 7th conference, no release date was given for the new handset. On the plus side, Denison did say that:

“We’ll be ready to start mass production in the coming months.”

To be honest, I don’t think anyone was expecting the foldy phone to land this side of Christmas. Besides, the amount of release date rumours pointing to it happening in 2019 seems almost nailed on.

royole folding phone

Samsung previously hinted its first foldable handset might be unveiled on-stage at CES 2019 in early January, or MWC 2019 in late February, two of the biggest tech expos. However, being pushed by other companies revealing their own folding phones, Royole being one (pictured above), has apparently forced Sammy’s hand.

Announcing is one thing but, actually being able to buy one? I wouldn’t get your hopes up for seeing the Galaxy X on the shelves directly after a full CES reveal. Even a show-and-tell-then-release pitched at MWC 2019 seems a tad optimistic. We would think April would be the earliest we could hope to see the new device on sale – and that’s still on the ‘in an ideal situation’ side of optimism.

Later might actually be better than sooner in the case of the Galaxy X though. Why? Well, because you’re going to need to start squirrelling away your pocket money right now as it’s not going to be cheap.

Samsung Galaxy X price

Naturally, Samsung avoided giving away any price details at the developer’s conference. However, we think that it is safe to say that the GX is going to be pitched at the same demographic that is happy to pay out for a fully-loaded iPhone XS Max.

Currently, there many rumours that Galaxy X will carry a price tag of £1,365 or $1,775 – that’s the current exchange rate for 2 million won, the mooted Korean price.

That price isn’t exactly just grabbed out of thin air, either. Just look at the asking price of a Galaxy Note 9 with all the trimmings – £1,099 ($1,249.99). Moreover, the Note 9 only has an everyday single screen. How very 2018!

Additionally, as mentioned earlier, Californian technology firm Royole also recently launched a folding phone. The Royole is equipped with a single OLED screen and is listed at £999 ($1,300). The Galaxy X boasts two screens.

Yup, 4-year phone contract, anyone?

The future

This could be the start of a whole new wave of smart devices. Would we still be correct in calling them just smartphones? Could we see the return of the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)?

We at GadgetyNews are excited about the new Samsung. To be honest, we’re even more excited at how the likes of Huawei will respond. Stay tuned for that.