Samsung's first foldable smartphone is now official. As expected, the South Korean electronics maker unveiled the Galaxy Fold during its Unpacked event today, alongside its new generation of Galaxy S10 handsets. Unlike the Galaxy S10 lineup, however, the Galaxy Fold fits into a new category with its 7.3-inch Infinity Flex display.
"Today, Samsung is writing the next chapter in mobile innovation history by changing what’s possible in a smartphone. Galaxy Fold introduces a completely new category that unlocks new capabilities never seen before with our Infinity Flex Display." said DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics. "We created Galaxy Fold for those that want to experience what a premium foldable device can do, beyond the limitations of a traditional smartphone."
Samsung made it clear that the internal screen does not just bend, it folds. That distinction required the use of new display materials, and is a "more difficult innovation to deliver." As part of that, Samsung said it invented a new polymer layer and created a display around 50 percent thinner than typical smartphone panels. This allows the Galaxy Fold to do what its name suggests, as well be "tough" and "built to last."
This also required a new hinging mechanism. Interestingly enough, Apple was recently granted a patent for different hinge designs that could be used in folding iPhone model sometime in the future. Who knows if this will lead to more patent litigation between Apple and Samsung.
In any event, the Galaxy Fold's hinges are designed to allow the phone to open "smoothly and naturally," similar to opening a book, and "close fat and compact with a satisfying click." Samsung describes the hinge as being sophisticated with multiple interlocking gears, housed in a hidden enclosure so it's easy on the eyes.
The Galaxy Fold is far sleeker than the prototype model Samsung had previously teased ahead of the official launch. It consists of two displays—a main 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic OLED screen (4.2:3 aspect ratio) and a 4.6-inch HD Super AMOLED (21:9 aspect ratio) cover display, the latter of which is shown above.
Samsung designed the Galaxy Fold with smartphone users in mind, and when the device is folded shut, it looks like a typical handset, albeit obviously thicker. The functionality is the same—users can operate the Galaxy Fold with one hand. But unlike a regular smartphone, it opens up to "endless multitasking" and a bigger, higher quality viewing area. It basically becomes a tablet.
The guts of this thing consist of a 7nm 64-bit octa-core processor built by Qualcomm and 12GB of LPDDR4 memory. It also features 512GB of onboard storage and a dual battery system with a combined 4,380 mAh capacity. The Galaxy Fold supports fast charging (wired and wireless).
What's also unique is the number of cameras. There are six in total, including a 10-megapixel selfie camera on the cover, dual cameras on the front of the main display (10-megapixel for selfies and an 8-megapixel RGB depth sensor), and three cameras on the rear (16-megapixel ultrawide, 12-megapixel wide-angle, and 12-megapixel telephoto).
"No matter which way you hold—or fold—the device, a camera will be ready to capture the scene, so you never miss the moment. With six lenses—three in the back, two on the inside and one on the cover—the Galaxy Fold camera system has flexibility built in. Galaxy Fold introduces a new level of multitasking, allowing you to use other apps during a video call," Samsung says.
All of this technology comes at a steep price. Forget about the $1,000 threshold, the Galaxy Fold approaches the two grand mark, albeit just short of that—it will be available in the US in the second quarter starting at $1,980.