Nov 20, 2017 UPDATE: As Samsung fans await more news on the potential Galaxy X, a major new announcement has teased the tantalizing prospect of this affordable smartphone.

New support page

Samsung’s South Korean operation has launched an official support page for a device bearing the model number SM-G888N0. This is particularly significant as this is believed to be the Galaxy X, which will be the first ever foldable smartphone produced by the Korean corporation.

Anticipation is rife for this product, as Samsung has been demonstrating its foldable technology at trade shows for some years. It has been anticipated for some time that the Korean manufacturer would include this technology in one of its smartphone products, but logistical considerations have prevented this until now.

The prototype version of the Galaxy X has reportedly passed through several regulatory agencies over the last 12 months, and this first mention of the device on Samsung’s official pages can be considered confirmation of its existence.

While Samsung fans will be eager to learn more official details regarding the Galaxy X, the page on the SM-G888N0 is rather reticent about revealing anything in particular. There are no software or hardware features listed on the website, although there are a raft of rumors available that point to possibilities.

Previous statements from the Korean developer indicate that the company will release the foldable smartphone at some point during 2018. It seems that it will be marketed as an alternative flagship, alongside the existing Galaxy S and Galaxy Note premium lines.

However, the timing of its release means that many of the hardware features included in the Galaxy X are somewhat uncertain. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 could be included in the Galaxy S9 and and Galaxy S9 Plus in February, but it is unclear whether the Korean corporation managed to secure enough units to achieve this.

Small launch

But as the Galaxy X will have a relatively small launch concentrated on East Asia, it is probable that the 845 could be included. Samsung will monitor demand for the smartphone in its first generation, and consider whether the Galaxy X range can be a viable long-term product.

Early suggestions are that the foldable technology included in this smartphone will rely on a movable hinge, meaning that the Galaxy X will somewhat resemble the ZTE Axon M. But it is believed that the phone will ultimately resemble the traditional clamshell rather than an open book, with the hinge included delivering a multi-joint quality.

It is also suggested that one of the two screens that will be included in the Galaxy X can be manipulated in a certain direction, even though the final design of the smartphone has yet to appear.

CES debut?

With the Galaxy X having already been certified in Samsung’s native Korea, the device has received all required approvals in order to launch worldwide. While we can reasonably expect this handset to appear around the middle of the calendar year, we could see an announcement related to the Galaxy X at the forthcoming CES 2018 trade show.

Previous Update – Of all forthcoming smartphones, Samsung Galaxy X is arguably the most exciting. Based on a foldable design, this handset promises to be a revolution in the way that the technology is marketed. With the potential to provide a larger degree of screen real estate with a smaller design, the Galaxy X could have the sort of impact on the smartphone industry that Samsung previously achieved with its curved screen technology.

However, the disaster of the exploding Galaxy Note 7 could lead the Korean manufacturer to be somewhat cautious with the Galaxy X. The last thing that the smartphone manufacturer wants with this innovative device is for it to be as unreliable as the Note 7, and this means that its approach with the Galaxy X could err on the side of conservatism.

Of course, this will not impact on the foldable screen, as this is the major selling point of the Galaxy X, and indeed the primary justification for its supposed existence. Indeed, Samsung has already confirmed publicly that there will be some form of foldable technology released in 2018; the question is when not whether.

The flip phone format has certainly declined in popularity since the advent of the smartphone, but with designers wanting to showcase ever larger models, it now makes sense in the contemporary climate. With the Galaxy S, Samsung is aiming to show off its unrivalled technological skills, and maintain its position as being the most innovative manufacturer in the mainstream of the smartphone marketplace.

And by creating the Galaxy X, Samsung can essentially test the water for this approach both in terms of its market viability and production logistics, without taking the risk of including it in its flagship Galaxy S9.

It is this cautious approach which is increasingly leading analysts to suggest that the Galaxy X may be a limited release when it finally emerges. Reports are now rife which suggest that the smartphone will initially be released in only Samsung’s home territory of South Korea, with a relatively small production run as well. This will enable Samsung to say whether a Western release is indeed justified, while also testing the reaction to the technology.

We can reasonably expect the Galaxy X to benefit from decent specs, but these will be significantly reduced in comparison to its Galaxy Note and Galaxy S ranges. The Korean manufacturer undoubtedly has a raft of customer-focused questions related to the handset, and understanding the way that it can be marketed will benefit the Galaxy X ahead of its mooted release in the Western world.

Thus, although the Galaxy X will benefit from an OLED display, it is generally believed that it will be a full HD unit, rather than the Quad HD screen that has been included in both the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. This suggests that Samsung will be seeking a different market niche for the Galaxy X, possibly targeting a youthful audience for a relatively affordable handset.

In this sense, releasing in Korea ahead of the United States, for example, will enable Samsung to test out the production costs and work out what is feasible.

Previous Update – Galaxy X revealed: The South Korean company is continuing the development of the foldable Samsung Galaxy X, as anticipation begins to build regarding this premium smartphone. The manufacturer has had bendable technology available for some time, but it seems that it will finally see the light of day in 2018.

Defining market

Nonetheless, all is not necessarily plain sailing for Samsung with this handset. Aside from the technical and logistical challenges that the Galaxy X will face, Samsung also has to essentially define what the Galaxy X is actually about. Why do consumers need a foldable display, and what advantages does it really deliver over a conventional smartphone?

Galaxy X
leejeongsoo / Pixabay

Among the obvious motivations for the Galaxy X and its foldable display is the ever increasing size of smartphone screens. A display that can be folded obviously opens up the possibility of a smaller unit with a larger screen. But is this really enough to sell another Samsung smartphone in a crowded marketplace in which the Korean company already offers the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note ranges?

What can be said for certain is that Samsung has considerable experience with unique smartphone designs, having already produced the first ever curved screen mobile, which effectively popularized the now commonplace technology. However, the problem with the foldable screen is that this will potentially add to the thickness of the smartphone, which doesn’t exactly correlate neatly with trends in the industry.

Commercial position

Samsung is also in a relatively strong commercial position at present, after it recovered very swiftly from the disaster of the exploding Galaxy Note 7. The last 12 months have been hugely successful for the consumer electronics giant, and Samsung is certainly able to experiment without difficulty currently. Considering that the Galaxy Note range is now re-established as a viable product series, it will be interesting to see whether the Korean corporation can establish a third major mobile product.

Another issue for Samsung with the Galaxy X will be precisely which demographic of consumers that the Korean company targets. Will this be a mid-range smartphone, a premium unit, or, in the most likely scenario, an affordable, budget phone? The Galaxy Note 8 already costs in the region of $1,000, so to go more expensive than that would really be pushing the appeal of Samsung products. Can the Korean company really deliver a Galaxy X that is relatively affordable, and if so how will the other specs match up against other established Samsung releases?

Viable niche

If there are question marks regarding where the Galaxy X will fit into the Samsung product range, what can be said with more certainty is that the foldable niche could become a viable prospect in the near future. Reports this week have suggested that Huawei is currently working on its own flexible and affordable handset, which will also launch at some point in 2018.

These are very much preliminary reports at present, but it seems that the budget mobile manufacturer is ready to rival Samsung in this niche. Despite the doubts regarding the value proposition of a Galaxy X with a foldable display, some consumers have already expressed enthusiasm about the concept, suggesting that there is a possible market for such devices.

Samsung Galaxy X specs

When the Galaxy X does arrive in the stores, it is likely to feature reduced specs in comparison to the Galaxy S8 and Note 8. The unique selling point of the handset will undoubtedly be the foldable screen, with Samsung likely to choose relatively modest specs in order to keep the cost of the device down.

Previous Update – New patent filed: As excitement grows regarding the potential of a foldable Samsung Galaxy X release, it seems that it’s not only Samsung that is planning a bendy smartphone in the foreseeable future.

Apple has seemingly filed a smartphone patent that can be viewed as a direct response to the Galaxy X. This sets up a major battle in the potential foldable smartphone niche in the coming years.

However, sourcing information indicates that Apple may have problems locating enough stock to produce its bendy iPhone in the next couple of years.

It seems that the Galaxy X will have a head start on the Apple contender, with the likely released date for the first bendable iPhone probably 2020.

With Samsung planning the Galaxy X for next year, watch this space…

The Samsung Galaxy X launches in 2018, and is set to revolutionize the smartphone niche. It is this device that Samsung has reportedly chosen to debut its foldable technology that it has been showing off at trade shows for several years. This will make the Samsung Galaxy X a truly unique device, and one that will generate a huge amount of buzz and headlines when it appears in the stores.

Samsung Galaxy X Rumors Affect Galaxy S9
Image Credit: Samsung / Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) (screenshot)

Nonetheless, the existence of the Samsung Galaxy X can still be considered somewhat enigmatic. Concept images have emerged for the smartphone, which indicates that it will definitely be a bendable device. However, few concrete details are available at the time of writing, with Samsung having successfully kept this smartphone under wraps.

Foldable mystery

So although it is highly anticipated that the Samsung Galaxy X will emerge at some point during 2018, and indeed that it is a foldable device, little is known about the technical details of how this will be achieved. We have seen Samsung showcase its bendable technology previously, but few details have emerged regarding its precise nature.

However, Bloomberg has already quoted Samsung’s president of mobile business, Koh Dong-Jin on the subject, suggesting that the Korean electronics giant will indeed launch a foldable smartphone before the end of 2018. Bloomberg indicated that this will carry the Note branding, but many market observers instead believe that this device could be branded as Galaxy X.

There are also some interesting rumors regarding the pressing run for the Galaxy X, with reports close to Samsung’s native Korea indicating that a relatively small number of units may be produced initially. Furthermore, these could be limited to South Korea, with Samsung treating its native market as a test run for a global roll out.

The Samsung Galaxy X has recently passed certification in South Korea, with the model number SM-G888NO cropping up in a certification filing from the Korean National Radio Research Agency. This resulted from its filing for Bluetooth certification, with the Wi-Fi Alliance having also confirmed this information following an application for certification.

Samsung Galaxy X release date and price

It is very early days to speculate about the release date and pricing of the Samsung Galaxy X, but it has been predicted that the smartphone could be unveiled at the CES trade show. CES 2018 will take place in Las Vegas in January, so this means that we may only have a couple of months to wait for more information on the Galaxy X. And while Samsung has a tendency to reveal release dates and concrete information about devices at trade shows, it is possible that any CES unveiling of the Galaxy X will be limited to a demonstration teaser.

A report from SamMobile suggests that the Samsung Galaxy X will be released in a small number of selected regions in order to test interest prior to a wider roll out. Britain and the United States will be included in these nine territories, and obviously Samsung’s native South Korea, but there will also be some other interesting selections, such as the Eastern European nation of Poland.

Display

Samsung has come to be associated with outstanding display technology, not least because it is a market leader in televisions. Thus, the screen of the Galaxy X will no doubt be central to its success or otherwise, as indeed is pretty much the case with every smartphone. Apple has acknowledged the importance of wraparound technology with its recent iPhone X release, and it is clear that the importance of producing impressive screens is becoming ever more critical.

It has been suggested in some quarters that the Samsung Galaxy X will be a hybrid device, with a screen capable of folding out to 7-inches in total. However, it is also believed that Samsung has multiple devices of this nature in development, with the Korean company possibly still pondering which one will ultimately be released.

Obviously a large display, with a staggering 8-inches having been considered as the largest of the foldout designs, would be a major selling point for the device, and one that would really make the handset stand out from the crowd. But there are obvious logistical problems associated with such a screen size, not least the potential development costs involved.

4K resolution

It is also possible that the Samsung Galaxy X will be the first ever device from the Korean manufacturer to embrace 4K resolution. This increasingly prominent technology has been linked with Samsung devices for several years, but the Korean company has declined to release a device capable of 4K resolution as of yet, despite the Quad HD+ capabilities of the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8.

However, some analysts have suggested that 4K technology would be rather ambitious for what is a completely new device.

Other specs

Dual-cameras have been strongly linked with the Samsung Galaxy X, which would certainly be a natural move after this technology was previously included in the Galaxy Note range earlier this year. It would also provide this mooted device with an advantage over the recent Google Pixel 2, with Google having opted for single-lens snappers in its smartphone.

It is also probable that the Snapdragon 836 will appear in the Samsung Galaxy X, with this state of the art processor having also been strongly linked with the aforementioned Pixel 2 (although this never came to fruition).

Market competition

Interestingly, the Samsung Galaxy X may enter a market which is imminently flooded with similar devices. Both LG and Lenovo have been particularly linked with foldable smartphones, with Samsung’s Korean rival LG having patented a phone / tablet hybrid. This suggests that Samsung isn’t perhaps as far ahead of the game as one might imagine with the Galaxy X, and that this foldable smartphone will soon become part of a unique niche within the mobile market.

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see whether the Samsung Galaxy X does indeed emerge at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.