Foldable smartphones appear to be the next logical step in the smartphone evolution, and multiple vendors are working to launch the first wave of foldable phones. A Chinese company called Royole has already launched the FlexPai, which is half-baked but the world’s first foldable phone. Samsung recently showcased a prototype of its foldable handset in San Francisco. Samsung has managed to create the most buzz about its foldable smartphone even before launch. No vendor comes close. But LG Electronics’ upcoming LG Bendi could give Samsung’s Galaxy X (or Galaxy F or whatever it’s called at launch) some serious competition.
Galaxy X will not be a gimmicky phone
Earlier this month, Samsung teased its foldable phone at the Samsung Developers Conference (SDC) in San Francisco. The Korean company presented it under dim lighting and the prototype phone had a black cover to protect its design elements. The Galaxy X, as dubbed by the rumor mill, will go on sale in the first half of 2019. Samsung will hold a special event to unveil the device early next year.
Samsung told developers that the Galaxy X would sport an Infinity Flex display with the One UI, and it would be capable of showing three different apps simultaneously. The device will have a 7.3-inch screen size when unfolded. You can fold it like a book to reveal a 4.5-inch screen “cover display,” which can also be used like a smartphone. Since the phone is foldable, it will easily fit into your pocket despite its monstrous 7.3-inch screen.
When unfolded, the Galaxy X will have a 1536 x 2152p resolution with a 4.2:3 aspect ratio. Once you fold it in half, the cover display will have an 840 x 1960 resolution with a 21:9 aspect ratio. The giant screen will consume a lot of battery life. But the Korean electronics behemoth aims to give it a battery life similar to those of the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note flagships, which would be impressive.
Foldable phones are expensive, and the Galaxy X will be no exception. The Royole FlexPai starts at nearly $1300 and goes up to $1864. Considering the amount of tech and refinement that will go into the Galaxy X, we should expect it to cost upward of $1,500. Gizmodo has learned from reliable sources that the Galaxy X will be exclusive to EE in the UK. Samsung is planning to produce at least one million units in the first half of 2019.
Patent reveals LG Bendi design
While Samsung is gearing up to unveil the Galaxy X, LG Electronics is not sitting idle. However, LG is in no rush to launch a foldable phone just for the sake of launching one. LG Mobile chief executive Hwang Jeong Hwan recently told Yonhap News Agency, “We will release it at a time when we can provide enough customer value rather than releasing it for the first time in the world.” It means whenever the device comes out, it’s unlikely to be half-baked like Royole FlexPai. LG is taking its time to get things right.
Earlier this month, LG Electronics trademarked three different brand names – LG Foldi, LG Flex, and LG Duplex. The Foldi and Flex names could be used for the company’s flexible and foldable phones, respectively, while the Duplex could be reserved for a phone with two screens. It indicated that the company was now a step closer to launching its own foldable phones.
A day later, LG filed to trademark LG Bendi. According to the rumor mill, LG Bendi would use a foldable display technology and will be much better than LG G Flex. Dutch publication LetsGoDigital has spotted a patent LG Electronics filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). The images in the patent filing suggest the LG Bendi would have a borderless design with a full-screen display.
The screen would bend around the main housing of the phone, and cover the front, back as well as the sides of the phone. The display could be attached magnetically to the main housing. LG Electronics hasn’t yet revealed how the phone’s interface would work. It’s possible that LG would first unveil the LG Bendi with bezels. The bezel-less version shown in the patent documents could be introduced with later versions of the phone.
Though the KIPO has granted the patent in Korea, it would take some time before the patent appears in the database of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). According to the rumor mill, LG could unveil LG Bendi at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. China’s Huawei is also expected to bring a foldable phone next year to take on the Galaxy X and LG Bendi.