Samsung’s foldable phone, dubbed Galaxy X in the rumor mill, is expected to be the most innovative smartphone from from the company in years. The phone will have a foldable OLED display, and Samsung’s mobile business head DJ Koh has assured fans that it will not be a mere gimmick. But there have been differing views on the Galaxy X design.
Here’s the Galaxy X design from Samsung’s patent
Samsung hasn’t yet confirmed how the folding mechanism would work on the new device. A recent patent filed by the Korean company sheds light on the Galaxy X design. Titled Bendable user terminal device and displaying thereof, the patent was filed with the WIPO and USPTO in March 2018. The USPTO published Samsung’s patent on July 5th (via LetsGoDigital).
The Galaxy X design is inspired by the clamshell design of flip phones. The patented technology uses a bend sensor and leaf spring instead of a hinge. You will be able to use the entire display area when the device is unfolded. The bend sensor is there to detect the bend angle, speed, and time. It means even if you bend the phone a little, the bottom part of the screen will shut down. You’ll still be able to use the top 40% and the background processes will continue unaffected.
The back panel appears to be capable of detecting where you touch on the back of the device. Touching the rear panel lights up the upper part of the screen similar to the Always-on Display on Samsung’s current flagship phones. The entire display fires up if you apply more pressure on the back of the device.
A major challenge with the Galaxy X design is that the entire body including the internal components, not just the display, will have to fold. Samsung has demonstrated foldable batteries in the past. It has also patented an “artificial muscle” technology that moves internal components in sync with the display to prevent any damage.
Previously, Korean site ETNews reported that the Galaxy X would sport an in-folding display that would measure 4.5-inch when folded and 7.3-inch when unfolded. ETNews claims Samsung has decided not to fold the Galaxy X screen in half due to usability issues. If it is folded in half, the display will not be visible when folded, so users will have to open the phone every time they have to check time, notifications, etc.
Samsung’s solution to this problem is to fold the screen only by two-thirds. The top one-third of the display will always remain exposed, giving users quick access to missed calls, battery percentage, notifications, time, and more without unfolding the device. It is unclear which Galaxy X design Samsung would implement.
Galaxy X specs
Not much is known about the Galaxy X’s technical specs, but we expect it to pack high-end components. Samsung has changed the foldable phone’s code-name from “Valley” to “Winner,” indicating that it has moved beyond the development phase. DJ Koh has also told fans that it would deliver “the best user experience.”
We expect the Galaxy X to feature at least 6GB RAM, the next-gen Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820 processor, and a high-resolution Super AMOLED Infinity display. According to ITHome, Samsung SDI has developed a flexible battery capable of storing between 3000mAh and 6000mAh power. It is not clear whether the new battery will find its way into the Galaxy X.
Citing reliable sources, ETNews says Samsung Display was preparing to start trial production of flexible OLED displays later this summer. The trial production will help it identify and address manufacturing issues. The flexible screens will enter mass production towards the end of this year. Samsung Display is reportedly producing only 100,000 panels this year. However, it will slowly ramp up production to one million units in 2019.
The flexible OLED panels and other flexible components are expensive to manufacture. It will clearly reflect in the Galaxy X price. If you thought the iPhone X was too expensive, wait until you see the Galaxy X. According to Golden Bridge Investment analyst Kim Jang-yeol, the Galaxy X would cost nearly 2 million won without carrier subsidies in South Korea. That’s about $1850 at the current exchange rate. Prices in the US could be even higher.
Galaxy X release date
According to Twitter tipster Ice Universe, Samsung will unveil its foldable phone at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January 2019. The phone should start shipping in February or March. The company was planning to launch it in 2018, but had to delay its release due to technological and usability issues.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) July 4, 2018
Shinhan Financial analyst Park Hyung-woo has also said that Samsung would showcase the Galaxy X at the CES next year. Samsung will produce the device only in small quantities – 300,000 to 500,000 units – to gauge the consumer interest in its home country. Depending on the response in South Korea, the Galaxy X could be launched in other countries later in 2019.