With the Galaxy S8 behind us, the rumor mill has shifted its focus to the next flagship device. No, it’s not the Galaxy Note 8. Samsung is going to launch a premium device called Galaxy X with foldable display before the Note 8 unveiling. Now a Chinese tipster with a decent track record claims the Galaxy X is coming out in the third quarter of this year. It is unclear whether Samsung would announce or launch the handset in Q3.

Galaxy X Galaxy Note 8 Patent
Image Credit: Samsung Electronics / Korea Intellectual Property Office (screenshot)

Galaxy X in Q3, Note 8 in Q4

Twitter user @mmddj_china also revealed that the Galaxy Note 8 would arrive sometime during the fourth quarter. It means there will be 1-3 months of gap between the Galaxy X and Note 8. The Korean electronics behemoth has traditionally unveiled new Galaxy Note phablets at the IFA event in Berlin, which takes place in Q3. Samsung might push back the Note 8 unveiling because of the Note 7 debacle. The new flagship Galaxy S8 is already arriving late to the market. Samsung traditionally announces the Galaxy S line phones at the Mobile World Congress.

The leaks suggest that we can see the Galaxy X rather than Galaxy Note 8 at this year’s IFA event in Berlin. According to GSM Arena, Samsung will launch two variants of the foldable display phone: X1 and X1+. Samsung has been working on a foldable display smartphone for years under a secret project called Project Valley. It is said to feature a 5-inch display with 4K resolution.

You can turn Galaxy X into a tablet

Sources familiar with the matter told SamMobile last year that the Galaxy X’s foldable display would have a “diamond PenTile subpixel arrangement.” It would be just like a regular smartphone when folded. Opening it would turn the device into an 8-inch tablet. Some reports also claim it would turn into a 7-inch tablet. Patents filed by Samsung suggest that it would be a fold-out device rather than a fold-in one. It means you won’t have to unfold the Galaxy X every time you wanted to use it as a smartphone. Users have to unfold the handset only when they wanted to turn it into a tablet.

Among other things, the Galaxy X is rumored to feature the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor that powers the latest Galaxy S8. It is said to feature a dual-camera setup on the back, and there will be a microSD card slot. Samsung already owns patents related to the dual-camera system. It has also made a strategic investment in Core Photonics, a company that specializes in smartphone dual camera imaging technologies. Due to its design, the Galaxy X battery is unlikely to be removable.

Samsung to start producing prototypes in Q3

Samsung has already developed the foldable technology. However, industry sources told the Korea Herald that the phone was not announced earlier because of profitability and marketability issues. The phone’s launch was also delayed due to the political scandal involving top Samsung executives and South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

According to ET News, Samsung and its display affiliate Samsung Display are in the “final step” of developing the foldable smartphone. Sources told the publication earlier this month that the first prototypes of Galaxy X are set to be produced during the third quarter this year. The company will produce “thousands of prototypes” to test the phone’s performance and quality internally. Major Samsung partners including wireless carriers would also get to test the Galaxy S8.

Galaxy X large-scale production to begin in 2018

If the prototypes perform well, the Korean company will test the waters by launching the Galaxy X in limited quantities in select markets. The company is initially expected to ship only 100,000 units in South Korea, the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Italy, and the Nordic countries. If Samsung gets a positive consumer response, it will start mass production in “H2 2018” and make it available worldwide.

Notably, Samsung is not the only company working to launch foldable smartphones. Chinese vendors such as Oppo, Vivo, and Lenovo are also working with local display manufacturers BOE, AUO and Visionox to make foldable phones. They are all in the race to be the first one to the market.

Samsung rival LG Electronics has also developed the foldable display technology. LG is rumored to release its foldable screens later this year. According to Korea Herald, LG is looking to ship more than 100,000 units in the fourth quarter of 2017. While Samsung will use its foldable screens for its own smartphones, LG is said to supply the screens to other companies such as Apple, Google and Huawei.

Galaxy Note 8 features and specs

The Galaxy Note 8 phablet is rumored to feature a giant 6.4-inch Super AMOLED dual-edge display with 4K resolution, a dual-camera system, and Samsung’s in-house AI assistant Bixby, which also sits on the Galaxy S8. It is expected to have the same Snapdragon 835 chipset that powers the Galaxy S8. Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh has previously confirmed the new Note phone will be “better, safer, and very innovative.”

According to recent leaks, the Galaxy Note 8 would pack 6GB RAM, iris scanner, an S Pen stylus, a USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Just like the Galaxy S8, the upcoming Note 8 would also get rid of the physical home button.