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Rumours of folding smartphones have been released every year for the past five years. In particular, these have related to Samsung Mobile who design and manufacture their own screens. This puts them in the key position to be the first mobile phone company to release a phone with a foldable display.
Last updated: 8th Jan 2019 at 9:23am
Those foldable phone rumours are over, with Samsung announcing that they will release a phone with foldable screen technology in the first half of 2019. The news came during the Samsung Developer Conference 2018, a move that has been seen as a necessity for developers who will need to start taking advantage of the app-possibilities that lay ahead.
The SVP of Mobile Product at Samsung, Justin Denison describes the Galaxy X as ‘The smartphone reimagined.’ This statement seems to confirm that the phone will be called the Galaxy X, but things change and the phone may still be released as the Galaxy F or the Galaxy Flex.
The Samsung Galaxy X will have a front 4.5” OLED Cover Display. This will be the screen to use with when the clamshell is closed. It seems to be of a fairly small size or it is at least when we compare it to a typical 5.5” display of a traditional smartphone. This makes us think that the main use of this display will be for seeing notifications or carrying out quick tasks that don’t require the ample spread of the foldable screen.
It gets exciting when the 7.3” AMOLED display is unfolded. To begin with, if you have an app open on the Cover Display then this will appear on the Infinity Flex Display in the same position. This makes the foldable screens concept a very practical one.
Once unfolded, you can open up to three apps at once, in a feature called Multi Active Window. Multi Active Window takes multi-tasking to a new place where you could be watching your social media feed while checking your emails and watching a movie or playing a game. You can also use an app that supports the use of feeds with up to three columns.
The Infinity Flex Display folds out without any central bezel or hinge breaking up the one-screen format. Durability is assured with the screen technology being able to be folded and unfolded hundreds of thousands of times. There was a concern over the display dimming along the folding line but there will only be a 6% drop in brightness, putting those fears to rest.
Google is wholeheartedly backing the foldable phone screen technology and this is a good thing when we consider that all apps will need to updated to support the foldable platform. In addition to the support from Google, Samsung is developing a new user interface called One UI. One UI is already being perfected through a beta version, which is available to Samsung users through the Samsung Members app.
According to insiders, Samsung will make one million units of the Samsung Galaxy X. For comparison, it is estimated that Samsung sold 31 million units of the Samsung Galaxy S9. The reason for the low production numbers of the Galaxy X may be related to price.
The various models of the Samsung Galaxy X are expected to be priced between £1,500 to £2,500. For many consumers, owning a Galaxy X at this price will be well out of their reach. The phone may become an EE contract exclusive but people will be able to buy the handset-only and put their existing SIM into it.
Foldable smartphones are likely to be the future of mobile phones, simply because of the possibilities of what can be done on a larger platform. If this is the future then it may be the death of tablets. This may take some time to be realised because foldable phones may be a little chunky at first and the development of new miniature technologies will be needed to tackle this problem.
ZTE showed us how not to do with the Axon M. This device had a hinge between the two halves of the display, making it completely impractical to use it as a tablet. In essence, it was simply two displays put next to each other with a gap down the middle.
Huawei has announced its intentions of releasing a foldable phone in 2019 and it is in a race to beat Samsung to the punch. Huawei has envisioned a foldable that folds outwardly, which gets rid of the need of a Cover Display, as seen in Samsung’s approach. Apple, LG and Lenovo also have foldable phones in the works and it is possible that Microsoft will join the mix as well.
If you have to have the latest tech then the Samsung Galaxy X is going to be a must have product for you. For those on a budget, patience will be the name of the game but as the months begin to pass, the price of foldable phones will steadily begin to drop.
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