The battle for the world’s first foldable phone is getting intense. Multiple reports suggest that Samsung is keen to launch a foldable phone as early as 2019. In fact, Samsung could tease the Galaxy X (though it reportedly goes by the internal code name “Winner”) at its annual developer conference in November.
Samsung isn’t the only company working on a foldable phone. Huawei too wants to launch a foldable smartphone in the market. Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, has promised a foldable phone in 2019.
Another potential company that is keen to bring a foldable phone is Microsoft. The Redmond-based tech company has been working on a foldable Surface Phone and it might get launched in late 2019. Other companies including Apple, Oppo and Xiaomi are also rumoured to be working on foldable phones.
Let us take a look at foldable smartphones to expect in 2019 from Samsung to Huawei.
Samsung Galaxy X
Samsung will reveal some details of a foldable phone, either be called the Galaxy X or Galaxy F, later this year, the CEO of the company’s mobile division told CNBC in an interview. DJ Koh said “it’s time to deliver” on a foldable phone after consumer surveys carried by Samsung showed that there is a market for such devices.
While Koh was mum on how the folding screen could work, but he did mention that the company is trying to differentiate the experience from a tablet once it is folded.
The device may sound similar to a flip phone, which relied on a hinge that connects two parts of the handset. But Samsung is likely to use a single screen instead of two different screens. The Wall Street Journal reported in July that Samsung’s mysterious foldable phone would use a single screen.
Koh hinted that more details around the handset will be released in November at Samsung Developer Conference in November, but gave no indication when it plans to launch the device in the market. Meanwhile, the Journal report claims that the Galaxy X could be priced above $1500 (Rs 108,817) and would be marketed towards a niche market, possibly gamers.
Huawei foldable phone
Huawei promises to release a foldable phone within a year. Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer division, has confirmed to the German publication Die Welt that a foldable phone will hit the market in 2019. “We are already working on it. You will not even have to wait another year,” he said.
In fact, Yu believes that the device could be replacing a computer due to its portability. “Why you are still using a computer?” said Yu, according to the German publication. While we do know much about a foldable phone, the Korean media speculates that Beijing Oriental Electronics (BOE) group will manufacture in-folding 8-inch flexible OLED panels that will used in the Huawei-made foldable phone.
Separately, a Nikkei report claims Huawei is planning to run a limited run for its foldable phone. It’s not clear when a foldable phone from Huawei might release in the market.
You can seen the prototypes of a foldable display from BOE in the video below
Microsoft Surface Phone
There has been a lot of chatter about the possibility of a Surface Phone, expected to be announced towards the end of 2019. While the company has never admitted that it plans to launch a Surface Phone, many believe the mysterious device will likely blur the lines between phones and tablets.
Apparently, Microsoft is developing a brand new OS, code-name “Andromeda” that will power the Surface Phone. Word on the street is that the Surface Phone will be marketed as a “pocketable” dual-screen computer with a built-in telephonic capabilities. At the moment, this is all speculation. Hopefully we will learn more about the Surface Phone in the coming months.
Apple foldable iPhone
The foldable iPhone could hit the market in 2020. That claim has been made made by Wamsi Mohan, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. According to CNBC, Mohan based the prediction on conversations he recently had with Apple’s suppliers in Asia.
Mohan said that the foldable iPhone, when unfolded, would be as big as a tablet device. Notably, the Korean Herald reportedly made a similar claim in October last year, hinting at LG Display as a lead supplier. Apple has already filed a patent application for a foldable smartphone.