Technology

Samsung Delays Galaxy X Launch Date

The latest news on the rumored foldable smartphone from Samsung suggests that the Galaxy X launch date has been pushed backwards. Samsung has some big plans in place for 2018, with the intention of releasing three major new devices. The Galaxy X will be central to this product portfolio, with its foldable display being one of the biggest innovations in the smartphone niche this year.

Galaxy X launch date
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

Galaxy X launch date delayed

But according to reports from Asia, the Galaxy X launch date may be later than was previously expected. The Korea Herald reports on comments by the Samsung mobile chief Koh Dong-jin, with the executive indicating that Samsung’s plans for the Galaxy X have been delayed due to logistical difficulties.

In fact, the situation is so serious that when Koh was asked about the possibility of a release at some point during the calendar year, he conceded that “it is difficult to talk about the date of the launch now.”

Koh went on to explain the reasoning behind the decision. “We want to unveil the products properly but now seems a bit early. We want to have a good reaction from customers once the phone is out in the market. But there are still durability issues that we need to address.”

Previous comments

The comments of the Samsung mobile supremo underline the challenging nature of releasing an affordable smartphone, and indeed on deciding on the Galaxy X launch date. In previous remarks, Koh had been bullish about the prospect of the Galaxy X, stating that there would definitely be a 2018 launch date for the product.

Furthermore, the Galaxy X has already passed Bluetooth and radio certification, indicating that progress has certainly been made. But for what is undoubtedly an ambitious project, Samsung is clearly ensuring that the Galaxy X is perfect by the time it reaches markets. Although the company has staged a remarkable recovery from the exploding Galaxy Note 7, this disaster is still fresh in the mind of executives of the Korean company.

Nonetheless, although the delay in the Galaxy X launch date will be disappointing for fans of Samsung and Android products, this should be seen as a postponement rather than a cancellation. While Koh refused to put a specific date on the release of the Galaxy X, he did indicate his confidence in the project, and asserted that a folding smartphone from Samsung “would have significant ramifications” for the entire industry.

What is interesting about this decision is the fact that other product manufacturers now have the opportunity to beat Samsung to the punch. Both Apple and LG have been working on developing a folding smartphone, and it is not inconceivable that these major players could release their products first. Furthermore, although Koh made it explicitly clear that the Galaxy X will appear at some point, there will be doubts over the viability of this project now.

Galaxy X UI struggle

Reports from close to Samsung suggest that the company has struggled to develop a viable user interface for the Galaxy X. This is perhaps a little surprising considering the experience that Samsung has in this department, but there is, of course, a completely different approach required to what is a foldable device.

Rumors also indicate that the Galaxy X launch date could still come in 2018, if Samsung is able to solve its technical and logistical difficulties. Aside from the user interface, there are issues related to the supply of foldable displays.

But ETNews suggests that Samsung will begin the mass production of these folddable screens in September, with the possibility of the Galaxy X launch date arriving in time for the critical holiday period. Based on this information, with assembly of the smartphone beginning in November, the Galaxy X should arrive in early 2019 at the very latest.

Samsung will certainly be determined to deliver its foldable phone sooner rather than later, as it has been showing off the prototype technology involved for several years. A bendable phone appeared way back at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2013, with the Galaxy X having been in development pretty much ever since, under the codename Project Valley.

Interestingly, Koh also told the Korea Herald that “there are still durability issues that we need to address” with the Galaxy X. This suggests that it is difficult to produce a foldable device that both delivers the sort of functionality and quality that Samsung desires, but also ensure that it is practical for everyday use. This is no doubt a problem that all the the companies involved in the manufacturing of these devices will encounter.

Galaxy X specs debate

There is some debate over the marketing of the Galaxy X, with the device likely to feature more modest specs then either the Galaxy S or Galaxy Note ranges, but also attracting a higher price tag. This will make marketing the device arguably trickier than other smartphones in the Samsung portfolio, which is the main reason that a limited launch in East Asia is expected initially.

The display will undoubtedly be the standout aspect of the Galaxy X, with a 7.3-inch OLED foldable screen having been linked with the smartphone. The resolution of this display is unknown at the time of writing, but it is probable that it will be in the Quad HD+ ballpark of both the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note ranges.

It will be interesting to see what other elements are included when the Galaxy X launch date rolls round. For example, will Samsung choose to stick with the 3.5 mm headphone jack that Apple has discarded? Will the device benefit from a stylus, as is the case with the Galaxy Note range? And how will the specifications of the device compare to Samsung’s existing product ranges?

One thing is for certain, we will have to wait a little longer to find out the answers to these questions.