There is no shortage of rumors about a foldable Samsung smartphone. Back in 2013, the Korean electronics behemoth showcased a bendable display prototype called Youm. Likely to be called Galaxy X, the foldable smartphone once again came into limelight when Samsung’s mobile chief teased on the same day Apple unveiled iPhone X that Samsung was working on a bendable display smartphone. Now the foldable Galaxy X has been certified by a Korean regulator, which indicates that its launch is imminent.
Is this the foldable Galaxy X?
LetsGoDigital reports that a device with model number SM-G888N0 has received certification from the Korean National Radio Research Agency (NRRA), which is an arm of the Korea Communication Commission (KCC). The “N0” in the model number denotes that it is a Korean model. Other manufacturers such as LG Electronics and ZTE have also been working on smartphones with bendable displays for years.
On the certification page, the NRRA describes the device as a “radio equipment for global LTE communication.” The listing does not provide any specific information about the product, so it could be anything. But things don’t stop there. A device with the same SM-G888N0 model number has been making appearances on a number of regulatory and authority sites.
For instance, when the same model number appeared on the WiFi Alliance, it was described as a “smartphone.” It indicates that the device is a smartphone or a smartphone/tablet hybrid of some kind. Back in July, the same device was granted Bluetooth certification by the Bluetooth SIG. At the time of both appearances, the rumor mill had associated the model number with the foldable Galaxy X.
Samsung’s patent drawings in the past have revealed that the Galaxy X would be an extra-widescreen device. The internal side of the foldable phone would be a flexible screen. It could be much wider than the Galaxy S8, which has an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. It would allow users to fold the device in a small clamshell format that easily fits into your pocket while still offering a large display.
Not much is known about the Galaxy X, except that it will have a foldable screen. Samsung has been working on the new display technology for years under the code-name Project Valley. The rumor mill claims it will have a 5-inch screen with 4K resolution. Samsung doesn’t yet offer the 4K resolution on its smartphones. SamMobile had reported last year that the Galaxy X display would have a “diamond PenTile subpixel arrangement.” You will be able to fold it in half, just like your wallet.
When will it launch?
The NRRA certification suggests that the phone’s launch is imminent. DJ Koh told media earlier this month that the foldable display smartphone would launch in 2018. However, he added that the new display technology was facing technical challenges that, if not resolved in time, could push back its arrival. Korean site ETNews claims the foldable Galaxy X would initially launch in limited quantities only in South Korea to assess consumer response.
The rumor mill claims Samsung could offer us a glimpse of the device at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 in Las Vegas. The CES is not the most favorite place for smartphone vendors to unveil their devices. But Nokia had unveiled its first Android smartphones at the CES earlier this year, so there is always a possibility of Samsung unveiling the Galaxy X at the CES.
The timing of DJ Koh’s recent comments indicates that the Galaxy X could be Samsung’s response to Apple’s 10th-anniversary iPhone X. The iPhone X is Apple’s biggest smartphone upgrade in years, and it is jam-packed with innovative new technologies. Samsung is already planning to launch the Galaxy S9 earlier than usual (in January rather than in February-March) to defend its market share against the iPhone X. The Galaxy X launch could prove that Samsung remains at the forefront when it comes to innovation in display technologies.