Samsung plans to launch the world’s first foldable smartphone, likely to be called the Galaxy X, later this year. In an interview with CNBC, the company’s mobile chief DJ Koh said that the phone could be officially announced at Samsung Developer Conference, slated to happen in the month of November in San Francisco.
According to Koh, the development process has been “nearly concluded” and the launch is nearby. However, he did admit that the manufacturing of a foldable phone is “complicated”. The executive further said that the company is launching a foldable device on the basis of the demand and feedback it got through multiple consumer surveys.
While Koh did not reveal the name of the device, he did share a lot of details about the foldable form factor. Unlike a flip phone that is split into two halves and joined by a hinge mechanism, Samsung’s foldable handset will use a flexible screen that bends like a wallet.
“You can use most of the uses … on foldable status. But when you need to browse or see something, then you may need to unfold it. But even unfolded, what kind of benefit does that give compared to the tablet? If the unfolded experience is the same as the tablet, why would they (consumers) buy it?,” Koh said at the IFA tech trade shows in Berlin last week.
The South Korean major wants to be the first company to commercially launch a foldable smartphone in the market. Last month, A Wall Street Journal report claimed that Samsung’s foldable phone will have a 7-inch screen that folds in half. The Journal doesn’t mention what the phone will be called, other than that its codename is “Winner”. According to the Journal, the initial rollout will be limited – after all, the Galaxy X will be a niche device. A wider, commercial release is expected to happen in the second half of 2019. One big issue with the Galaxy X could be its high price tag. The Journal reports the price of the handset might cross $1500 (or approx Rs Rs 1,07,077), making it Samsung’s most expensive smartphone to date.
But Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer developing a foldable phone. Huawei, the world’s second-largest smartphone maker, is also working on a foldable phone. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Huawei could launch the device in early 2019. The phone will reportedly use a flexible panel by China’s BOE Technology Group.