After months of speculation, Samsung has confirmed its world-first foldable smartphone will launch later this year.
First glimpsed in November at Samsung’s own Developers Conference, the as-yet unnamed device is now expected to arrive in the first half of 2019. Reports indicate that a prototype phone was unveiled this week to select VIP insiders during Las Vegas’ CES event, but Samsung has yet to show off its ground-breaking new tech to the general public.
Samsung executive Suzanne de Silva, speaking at CES with tech publication Digital Trends, confirmed that a foldable Galaxy phone will “absolutely” be revealed in Q1 of this year, although remained tight-lipped when pressed for further details. So although we can expect a foldable Samsung device to arrive in the next six months, exact dates – as well as pricing and availability – are still up in the air.
Samsung’s foldable phone: what we know so far
We may not know exactly when the foldable Samsung phone will hit shelves, but we do have some details on the device’s specifications. Samsung has confirmed that the smartphone will feature an all-new Infinity Flex Display, which will enable the device to fold without creasing or affecting screen quality. The phone itself – which will fall under Samsung’s Galaxy range – offers two OLED screens: a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, and a secondary 4.6-inch screen (visible when the device is folded in half).
Presumably, the smaller phone screen will activate when the device is folded over, and be primarily used for notifications and alerts. Patents filed by Samsung indicate that users will also be able to open apps from the second screen for full-screen use once the device is unfolded.
— Digital Trends (@DigitalTrends) January 8, 2019
Samsung has confirmed it is developing a new user interface, titled UI One, specifically for its foldable phones. The new Android UI is designed to make one-handed phone use easier, and will offer a new feature, called Multi-Active Window, that allows three apps to run simultaneously.
In terms of unconfirmed specifications, industry leakers have predicted a massive 6,000mAh battery, as well as a triple-lens rear camera. It’s likely the device will include similar features as the also-upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10, including eventual 5G capability; however, this 5G-compatible version may not arrive until later in 2019.
What about pricing?
In addition to not yet knowing what Samsung will actually call its foldable device (although the Galaxy X, Galaxy Flex, and Galaxy F are all popular guesses), we still don’t know just how much the future-forward phones will cost outright.
Unfortunately, speculation suggests these devices won’t be cheap: in November, Gizmodo UK predicted prices of up to £2,000 (or about $3,500 AUD). More recently, reports indicate a price tag of 2 million South Korean won, or roughly $2,500 Australian.
We also don’t know where or how you’ll be able to buy the device in Australia. It’s likely the foldable phone will be available on plans from Optus, Telstra and Vodafone (as with previous flagship Samsung releases), as well as to buy outright from major retailers such as JB HiFi and Harvey Norman.
Overall, the flexible Galaxy is slated to be a premium product, with pricing to match. Here’s hoping Samsung makes an official announcement at next month’s Mobile World Congress – but if you can’t wait to upgrade to a new Galaxy smartphone, check out our Galaxy Note 9 plan picks here.