Samsung Galaxy F: All you need to know about Samsung’s foldable phone launch
Samsung is finally thought to be on the verge of revealing its long-awaited foldable smartphone, which has been in the works for several years. It isn’t clear what the device will be called, but both ‘Samsung Galaxy F’ and ‘Samsung Galaxy X‘ have been strongly rumoured. Here’s all the information you need to get to grips with Samsung’s foldable phone, including the Galaxy F’s release date, specs, price and more.
For the purpose of clarity, we’ll refer to the device as the Samsung Galaxy F throughout this article. Read on for all of the key details, including design and features, and pricing and release date speculation.
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Samsung Galaxy F: The latest news
We’ve long suspected that the Samsung Galaxy F would be officially announced at the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) on November 7. And the company did. Sort of. While a consumer ready device was missing, Samsung did unveil the Infinity Flex display technology that will power the Galaxy F phone.
The functioning Infinity Flex prototype previewed a thicker smartphone with a cover display showcasing the regular grid of apps. It can be used as a normal smartphone. However, the magic comes when the handset is folded out into a 7.3-inch tablet display, which has no hint of a hinge.
Opening the book, so to speak, also expands the currently open app into a new full-screen view. It also enables up to three apps to be showcased at any time thanks to Samsung’s new One UI.
Here’s what Samsung has to say: “Users now have the best of both worlds: a compact smartphone that unfolds to reveal a larger immersive display for multitasking and viewing content. The app experience seamlessly transitions from the smaller display to the larger display as the device unfolds. In addition, users can browse, watch, connect and multitask without losing a beat, simultaneously using three active apps on the larger display.”
Samsung said it has made a number of technological breakthroughs in order to showcase this display, not least a new polariser that’s 45% thinner than the one sitting in its current Super AMOLED displays. The company said the Infinity Flex display is also flexible and strong enough to be folded and unfolded ‘hundreds of thousands’ of times without risk of damage.
The company says the tech will be ready for mass production within months and says it will be ready to talk about it more at its next Unpacked event, likely to be during the Galaxy S10 launch early next year.
Prior to the keynote SamMobile has spotted a session in the SDC 2018 app, titled ‘New Galaxy UX’ which we’ll be keeping a close eye on. “Introducing Samsung Mobile’s next UX,” the description for the session reads. “Explore the new Galaxy UX with Android 9.0 Pie (Beta Program), and see how a Foldable display creates a totally new experience.”
The specs for the Infinity Flex display, unveiled during the keynote, also tied into a recent report from South Korean publication The Bell, Samsung’s foldable phone will feature one 7.29-inch OLED display and one 4.58-inch OLED display.
The report, which doesn’t actually refer to the handset as the ‘Samsung Galaxy F’, added that Samsung was initially in two minds about whether to equip the device with one display (the larger one) or two displays.
A single-screen device would have been thinner, more durable and less expensive, but the inclusion of two screens − one on the outside and one on the inside − means users will be able to interact with it whether it’s folded or unfolded.
The Bell also claimed that mass-production of parts for the phone will begin this month, with Samsung claimed to be aiming to produce between 500,000 and 1 million units per year. We know the display technology itself will not enter mass production until 2019.
Samsung Galaxy F: Release date and price rumours
We know now the Galaxy F phone will not launch in 2018. The next update from Samsung will come in early 2019, but that doesn’t offer any assurances a consumer-ready device will be unveiled with imminent shipping on the agenda.
A late October report from Bloomberg has suggested that Samsung was struggling to decide on a final design (more on this further down the page). That report appeared to play out during the SDC keynote where Samsung showed what a prototype device, appearing to lack the polish a finished, market-ready, flagship Samsung smartphone.
However, while previously, there had been doubts over whether or not the handset would actually be released to consumers, it now sounds seems certain we will be treated to a global release.
“I’m positive that we do need a foldable phone,” DJ Koh, the head of Samsung Mobile, said at the launch of the Samsung Galaxy A9 in Kuala Lumpur in August, according to SamMobile. “Possibly when we start selling the foldable phone, it may be a niche market, but definitely, it will expand.”
Bloomberg reports that Samsung might not be ready to launch it until at least the second quarter of 2019. In its Q3 earnings report, the company hinted it may dome earlier during the year. We expect to know more during the Galaxy S10 unveiling in early next year.
“Samsung will strive to expand sales of premium smartphones through differentiated design and a diversified lineup,” reads the announcement. “The Company will also solidify its market leadership by adopting cutting-edge technologies across its entire Galaxy lineup, including the Galaxy A series.
“Moreover, Samsung will strengthen its competitiveness in the mid- to long-term by leading innovation with the launch of foldable and 5G smartphones as well as enhancing its Bixby-based AI and IoT services.”
Kim Jang-Yeol, the head of research at Golden Bridge Investment, has predicted that the handset could retail for north of $1800 when it hits the shelves. That’s actually not a huge amount more than the top-spec iPhone XS Max, but there’s also speculation that the phone will, at least initially, be available in extremely limited quantities.
Samsung Galaxy F: Design and display
We now know the impression we had – two screens, one little and one large, which can be folded like a book – was on the money. We also know that the device will have an outward-facing cover display.
Previously, the screen was said to have passed internal tests, surviving more than 200,000 times folds. Again, that played out again during the SDK keynote.
From what we saw on November 7, it’s not clear whether rumours the Galaxy F will have that satisfying ‘snap’ that accompanied old favourites like the Motorola Razr were accurate, but it didn’t appear to be the case judging by the prototype on show.
An announcement back in July sheds more light on the type of panel that could feature on the Galaxy F.
“Samsung Display developed the flexible OLED panel with an unbreakable substrate and an overlay window securely adhered to it. Current-generation flexible display products attach a glass-covered window to their display that often breaks when severely impacted,” the company said at the time, adding that it was “especially suitable for portable electronic devices not only because of its unbreakable characteristics, but also because of its lightweight, transmissivity and hardness”.
In October, it emerged that the South Korean firm had filed a trademark with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (via LetsGoDigital) for ‘Samsung Infinity-V’, but we no know the new technology will be dubbed Infinity Flex and will underpin the next generation of smartphones.
The company introduced the ‘Infinity Display’ (so-called because it stretches nearly from edge to edge) with the Samsung Galaxy 8 last year, and it has since featured on numerous Samsung-built handsets.
During the SDC 2018 keynote Google also confirmed it was optimising Android for the next generation of foldable phones and will be working with third-party developers to help ensure their apps are ready for the new form factor.
Samsung Galaxy X: Specs and features
In terms of specs, the Samsung Galaxy F, we can be pretty sure it’ll be a 7.3-inch flexible OLED screen that can unfold to form a medium-sized tablet. Samsung didn’t confirm whether the external display would be the reported 4.6-inches in size.
Beyond that, we’re still in the dark. It could come with an Exynos 9810/Snapdragon 845 CPU and at least 6GB of RAM.
Samsung made no mention of Corning Gorilla Glass being present during the SDC keynote. According to a September report from ET News, the Samsung Galaxy F would arrive without it The firm reportedly plans to use a transparent polymer from Sumitomo Chemical of Japan instead. This move would assuredly make the display more susceptible to bumps and spills, but would enable Samsung’s long-held ambitions to finally come to fruition.
Samsung SDI managed to build a foldable battery four years ago, but that only had a 210mAh capacity. Fortunately, the subsidiary is said to be getting close to developing one that could realistically power a smartphone.
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According to ITHome, industry sources say it will run on a foldable battery built by Samsung SDI, which will have a capacity somewhere between 3000mAh and 6000mAh. However, Bloomberg claims the battery might have to be downsized, in order to keep the handset’s weight down.
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