Samsung's first foldable device has finally been announced for real.
It isn't the Galaxy X, F or even Flex.
We've just been introduce to the rather practically-named Galaxy Fold.
Samsung Unpacked has finally happened. No more rumours. No more speculation. Over the past six months the Galaxy S10 arguably became the most leaked flagship phone ever. It made the Pixel 3 details look airtight. But it is now officially out in the ethos, and we're to deliver all the details - including when it will land in Australia and exactly how much it's going to cost you.
It may not be the first foldable in the world thanks to the Royole FlexPai (which I got my hand and butt on at CES this year) but it does have the first 7.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity Flex Display. As for the outside, it is rocking a smaller 4.6-inch Super AMOLED display.
It may also become the first foldable to become commercially available on a large scale... depending on what competitors drops on us at Mobile World Congress next week, of course.
Samsung is also pushing the idea that the screen is foldable (not just bendable) in a way that seems to be in answer to the FlexPai, and perhaps other manufacturerswho have been rumoured to be entering the foldable device space.
A press release from the global giant specifically states that, "The internal screen does not merely bend. It folds. Folding is a more intuitive motion, and a more difficult innovation to deliver. Samsung invented a new polymer layer and created a display around 50 percent thinner than the typical smartphone display. The new material makes Galaxy Fold flexible and tough, built to last."
The Google Maps unfolding demonstration was actually very cool
We haven't gotten our hands on one yet, but the Fold is said to fold flat and have an accompanying 'click', which I'm particularly excited about. The 'click' was one of the best parts of the FlexPai, which isn't a drag. It feels real good. I can't wait to get some more of that ASMR action.
Samsung apparently achieve this through a next-level hinge with interlocking gears, which is hidden for the sake of aesthetics.
In terms of usability, the device has a unique UX that allows the simultaneous use of three active apps on the main display. So you could have Netflix, Reddit and possibly even a game on the go in order to live your best life.
Or you could use it for productivity, I guess.
It has also been designed with app continuity, allowing an apparently seamless transition between the cover and main displays. When you open and close the Fold, your apps will pop up where you left off.
If you need a bigger screen for the task at hand, you can unfold the device and continue on.
Fingers crossed that this works faster and more efficiently than the FlexPai, which was incredibly janky.
One of the biggest questions around foldable devices has been whether there will be enough compatible apps to make it worth it. Developing for a foldable screen is a lot different, and harder, than doing so for a regular phone or tablet.
Samsung hasn't gone into many specifics about what apps have been created or optimised for the Fold besides Netflix, Google Maps and some messenger services - although we do know it will be compatible with DeX, Samsung Pay and Bixby Routines. But the company has said that it, "worked with Google and the Android developer community to ensure that apps and services were available for the Galaxy Fold’s unique experience."
Unlike the new S10 range, the Fold isn't at a point where an in-screen fingerprint scanner is achieveable. Instead, it's located on the side of the device where our thumbs tend to rest.
But it does have a 7nm 64-bit Octa-core processor, 12GB RAM and 512GB storage which will allegedly deliver a "PC-like" performance.
On the camera-front we're looking at at a total of six lenses. Starting at the back, it will have the same rear setup as the S10+ - a 12MP telephoto, 12MP wide-angle and 16MP ultra-wide lenses. The same goes for the front with 10MP + 8MP dual selfie lenses.
However, it also adds a 10MP cover camera into the mix, so you don't always have to unfold in order to snap a pic.
Interestingly, the 4,380mAh battery will, like the S10 range, allow wireless powershare. But much like the press material for the Galaxy S10, it suggests plugging in the phone in order to charge itself as well as another device (via wireless powershare) simultaneously.
Considering how inefficient Huawei's reverse wireless charging was when completely unwired, this makes a lot of sense. The tech is still new and therefore a lot of juice was required to provide the second phone with just a slither of extra power.
The official wording certainly doesn't sound like it's going to be an impressive wireless charger unless its also plugged in, but I look forward to testing my theory in the near future.
Here's the full list of specs:
“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.”
If you were thinking that maybe, just maybe, you'd get your grabby hands on the Fold at the same time as the S10 range (March 8) we have some bad news. You're going to have to wait a little longer.
There is no local pricing or a release date for the Galaxy Fold as yet, but it will apparently be on sale in the U.S. from April 26 for US$1,980. It will come in four colours - Cosmos Black, Martian Green, Astro Blue and the non-spaced-named Silver.
It's going to be incredibly fun putting this exciting device through its paces in the coming months... and seeing if any serious competition will come out of Mobile World Congress.
In the last few months of 2018 it seemed like the mobile world was dominated by the foldable arms race. Samsung was always at the forefront of the conversation, but there were other contenders who might get there first, including Huawei. In the end, a small company called Royole beat everyone to it, releasing its foldable to the commercial Chinese market at the end of last year. It also made an appearance at CES 2019, so I pushed my way through the crowds to ensure I got my hands (and butt) on it.