For the last several months, a Samsung smartphone with model number SM-G888N0 has been linked to the foldable Galaxy X. The SM-G888N0 phone had appeared on many regulatory platforms, sparking speculations that the Galaxy X could be unveiled in the first quarter of 2018. A support page for the device had also appeared on Samsung’s website. Samsung’s mobile business chief DJ Koh has told media that the foldable phone is coming in 2018.
Samsung confirms SM-G888N0 is a rugged smartphone for professionals
Samsung has sent out a press release, first spotted by Mobiel Kopen, saying that the device with model number SM-G888N0 is a rugged smartphone for professionals. The phone is unlikely to be available in the consumer market. It indicates that the Galaxy X is yet to pass through regulatory platforms, and could still be some time away. We are unlikely to see the foldable smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show next month or the Mobile World Congress in February.
The press release states that Samsung and telecom firm KT’s LTE-Railway network for the Wonju-Gangneung high-speed train line had gone live. Samsung provided a radio access network, a core network, and “rugged smartphones (SM-G888N0) for professionals.” We know that the “N0” in the model number refers to the South Korean market.
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The same model number had received certification from the Korea Communication Commission (KCC) in September. Certification documents at the Bluetooth SIG had described it as a “mobile phone.” The rugged phone was also seen passing through the WiFi Alliance earlier this year, where it was described as a “smartphone.”
What do Samsung’s patents tell us about the Galaxy X
Samsung has been working on the foldable smartphone for years. The company first showed a concept foldable phone at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2013. Over the last few years, it has filed a series of patents related to the foldable phone technology. However, the patents suggest that the actual phone wouldn’t be as exciting as the concept device it showcased at the CES. The concept phone had a single screen that users could wrap around their wrist.
The patents filed with the WIPO indicate that the Galaxy X would have two screens attached to a metal frame in the middle. Both the screens would be curved on the sides to offer a seamless experience in the tablet mode. You could use one screen at a time or both screens simultaneously. When not in use, you could fold the two screens inward to protect the display.
The combination of two screens would offer a unique user experience. When playing games, the second screen could be used to control the actions on the primary screen. In another use case, the first screen could list all the contacts while the second one could show you a specific person’s contact card. Interestingly, both the screens have their own speaker and front camera.
Galaxy X release date
Until now, the rumor mill was expecting Samsung to unveil the foldable smartphone in the first quarter of 2018, most likely at the CES in Las Vegas. Now that we know the SM-G888N0 is not the Galaxy X, the foldable phone is unlikely to arrive in early 2018. Samsung would unveil the Galaxy S9 at the MWC, and it wouldn’t want the foldable phone to steal the limelight from the Galaxy S9.
Phone Arena reports that the Galaxy X would be launched only in South Korea next year. Samsung would first test the market response before bringing it in other countries. The company would initially produce only 100,000 units for the Korean market. Consumers in countries other than South Korea would get the device later in 2018 or early 2019.