Apple’s iPhone X was only about $200 more expensive than the iPhone 7 Plus. But consumers and industry experts criticized Apple for selling a ridiculously expensive phone. Samsung is preparing to launch a foldable phone, dubbed Galaxy X for now, next year. And the Galaxy X price will be much, much higher than the iPhone X, according to a report from South Korea.
The Korean electronics behemoth has been working on the foldable phone for years. Samsung has numerous patents related to the foldable display technology, but its biggest challenge was manufacturing such a complex device in large quantities. Shinhan Financial analyst Park Hyung-woo told The Korea Times that component suppliers are on track to start supplying Galaxy X parts to Samsung by November this year.
The Galaxy X assembly will begin towards the end of this year with the aim to launch it in the first half of 2019, said Park Hyung-woo. The Korea Times added that Samsung would be the world’s first vendor to launch a foldable smartphone. That’s exciting news for Samsung fans. But the Galaxy X price could end up disappointing them.
Golden Bridge Investment analyst Kim Jang-yeol predicts that the Galaxy X cost would be about 2 million won in South Korea without carrier subsidies. That’s equivalent to roughly $1845 at the current exchange rate. The higher storage variants could cost even more for consumers. It will be nearly twice as expensive as the iPhone X.
Here’s why the Galaxy X price will be so high
One of the reasons the iPhone X was so expensive is the OLED display. The Galaxy X is rumored to have as many as three OLED screens: two on the inside and a third on the outside. The two inner displays will fold like a book, facing each other. They will reveal a massive 7.3-inch OLED display with no bezel between them when unfolded. The third OLED screen will be on the outside to give you quick access to notifications and other details.
Apparently, the use of three OLED screens and the foldable technology are the reasons why the Galaxy X price will be so high. It’s worth pointing out that the US pricing could be different than in South Korea, but it is unlikely to be cheaper given the complexities of manufacturing a foldable smartphone.
Samsung will have to ensure that users can fold and unfold the phone repeatedly without damaging the internal components. It has patented an ‘artificial muscle’ technology that allows components to move in sync with the screen to prevent any damage. If Kim Jang-yeol’s prediction pans out, only the biggest smartphone enthusiasts will be able to shell out nearly $2,000 for the foldable device.
Samsung’s mobile business head DJ Koh has assured fans that the Galaxy X would not be a mere gimmick. He told CNet in February that Samsung would release the foldable phone only when it has “complete confidence” that it is “delivering the best user experience.” It will not be a mere proof of concept or an experiment. It will be a fully functioning smartphone with smooth user experience, said Koh.
Korean site The Bell has reported earlier that Samsung had changed the Galaxy X’s code-name from ‘Valley’ to ‘Winner,’ suggesting that the phone has moved beyond the development phase.
Not much is known about the foldable phone’s technical specifications. Given the Galaxy X price, we expect it to have premium specs such as a dual or triple camera system on the back, the next-gen Exynos 9820 or Snapdragon 855 processor, and at least 6GB RAM.
Galaxy X could be unveiled at MWC next year
Shinhan Financial analyst Park Hyung-woo told The Korea Times that Samsung would showcase the Galaxy X prototype to its US and European carrier partners at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January next year. It means the phone could be officially unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in late February next year. The MWC 2019 will be held between February 25-28, 2019 in Barcelona.
Samsung is reportedly planning to release the Galaxy S10 in January itself to accommodate the Galaxy X. The company traditionally refreshes the Galaxy S line in February or March. Even before that, we will see the Galaxy Note 9 in August this year.
The Bell added that Samsung would produce the Galaxy X only in limited quantities next year for sale in its home country. It is expected to make only 500,000 to 2 million units in 2019. Depending on the consumer response in South Korea, Samsung could start selling the foldable phone in other markets towards the end of 2019 or early 2020.