Samsung Galaxy X – Release date, specs, price, latest news and rumours
Rumours of a mysterious foldable Samsung phone have been circulating for years, but a recent wave of leaks and teases led us to believe that a flexible handset called the Samsung Galaxy X could be about to launch very soon. And sure enough, Samsung has all but confirmed it will launch alongside the Samsung Galaxy S10 next week.
But what is it, and will you even be able to buy it? From the latest news and rumours to specs, release date and pricing gossip, our guide reveals all.
Samsung Galaxy X – What is it, and when does it come out?
The majority of rumours we’ve seen refer to a device known as the Samsung Galaxy X. The working theory is that Samsung has finally managed to manufacture a foldable phone, and is on the verge of unveiling it.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the key Samsung Galaxy X news and rumours:
- Samsung Galaxy X release date: A foldable handset built by Samsung that was initially expected to launch at the end of 2018. Despite various teases, it’s now on track for a February arrival.
- Samsung Galaxy X design and specs: The main rumour is that the phone will feature dual screens and fold in some way, potentially using a flexible OLED panel and some kind of segmented design. This design could allow the handset to switch between smartphone and tablet form factors.
- Samsung Galaxy X price: Considering that Samsung is rumoured to be limiting the initial run of Galaxy X smartphones, it’s likely that the phone would be extremely expensive − for some sort of context, the lowest-spec Galaxy S9 Plus was priced at £869 at launch, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the X cost well in excess of £1000 when (and if) it’s made available.
Samsung Galaxy X – Name
You may have come here to read all about the Samsung Galaxy X, but this mysterious device has also been referenced by a few other names in the past. While the ‘X’ moniker seems like the most plausible and most marketable of the possibilities out there, a number of alternatives have also cropped up on more than one occasion already.
A report by the Wall Street Journal which referenced “a person familiar with the matter” stated that early on in the device’s development both “Galaxy Flex” and “Samsung Flex” were on the table as potential names that the Korean company was playing with. Similarly, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that the device would be called the “Samsung Galaxy F”.
Separately, LetsGoDigital shared an alleged trademark application filed on behalf of Samsung by London-based law firm Fieldfisher LLP. The request, which was sent to the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO), was a move to register the name “Samsung Rize” pertaining to a ‘Class 9’ device − a smartphone or mobile phone.
Despite this, almost every other leak and rumour has subsequently leant against ‘Galaxy X’ as the defacto name. A truth that won’t be realised, however, until the phone officially launches.
Samsung Galaxy X – Price and release date
Just over a week before the February 20 Unpacked event, Samsung released a new video teaser confirming that both the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy X will be unveiled at the event.
The teaser proclaims “The Future Unfolds” on 02.20.19. You can see the 27-second spot in the video below, with the Galaxy S10 getting second billing. “The future of mobile will unfold on February 20, 2019,” the caption on the YouTube posted to the official Samsung channel reads.
Unfortunately, the teaser provides no new information on the phone itself.
As for pricing, Yonhap News Agency has sourced a report that suggests Samsung’s foldable phone will arrive with a price tag of 2 million South Korean Won (or ~£1370), making the X more expensive than current big-ticket handsets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and iPhone XS Max, along with the aforementioned Royole FlexPai, which starts at a sizeable £1209.
Along with SIM-free pricing, a tip shared with tech website Gizmodo also suggests that in the UK, mobile carrier EE will lord exclusivity over its rival networks, but no contract pricing has been stated as yet.
Samsung Galaxy X – Design and screen
Samsung has been teasing folding mobile technology for years now but it wasn’t until 2018 that we started to see tangible efforts from the company. The Infinity Flex Display, which was showcased at Samsung’s Developer Conference, was our first real glimpse of the working hardware likely to underpin a consumer-ready device like the Galaxy X.
The Infinity Flex Display is a large, thick slab with a 4.58-inch outer screen packing a narrow 21:9 aspect ratio (plus an 840 x 1960 resolution). Open it up like a book, however, and there’s a much larger 7.3-inch panel on the inside that adopts a more squared 4.2:3 aspect ratio and a QXGA+ (2152 x 1536) resolution.
Considering Samsung’s initial reveal literally kept onlookers in the dark about what its foldable hardware actually looked like, subsequent renders from Dutch site LetsGoDigital have since painted a much clearer picture of the Infinity Flex Display’s form, and while undeniably innovative, it isn’t particularly pretty. Chances are if the Galaxy X is set to be a true market-ready handset-cum-tablet, it’ll have to sport a far more refined take on the Infinity Flex Display’s form.
The recently-launched Royole FlexPai is the first foldable device of this nature that’s already ready for purchase but it too doesn’t sport the most elegant design, opting for a different form factor from Samsung’s approach; with a single display that folds in half.
Similarly, Xiaomi has teased an as-yet-unreleased collapsible phone concept of its own, which also rocks a single display that folds in two places to switch from a wider to a narrower form. It’s a more polished and elegant-looking tech demo compared to that of both Samsung’s and Royole’s efforts, however, the Korean company is supposedly far closer to getting a desirable folding phone into consumers’ hands than its Chinese rival.
Fortunately for us, the Samsung Vietnam YouTube channel appeared to jump the gun in late January by publishing a teaser for the company’s Unpacked event. The video shows a bunch of existing and futuristic products − one of which just so happens to be a folding phone that matches the description of numerous recent leaks and reports.
The clip was pulled off the web by Samsung Vietnam shortly after it went up, but fortunately for us, an eagle-eyed viewer managed to rip and repost it. You can watch it below:
There’s only a few seconds of footage, but they provide what may well be our first proper look at the X − the mysterious smartphone-cum-tablet that Samsung has been hyping up for, well, several years now.
Samsung Galaxy X – Software
With the FlexPai, Royole had to custom-build behaviours into the device’s software experience to react to fold-specific actions (things like screen rotation and app formatting), Samsung might not have as tough a time when it comes to the Galaxy X.
Although there’s no doubt that the company is more than capable of engineering its own first-party software experiences, provided the Galaxy X gets a taste of Google’s upcoming Android Q release, there’s the promise of native actions for “Foldables”.
As spotted by PhoneArena, one of Android Q’s killer features is something that Google is referring to as ‘screen continuity’. When running an app on a foldable device, Q will be able to transition seamlessly between the two screen layouts – the smaller, smartphone-like folded screen, and the more immersive, tablet-style experience you get when the device is unfolded.
Here’s an example of what that might look like in action:
Typically Google pushes the next major release of Android out in the second half of each year, however, there’s a chance that Android Q might arrive sooner than usual, meaning it has the potential to coincide with the Galaxy X’s expected March arrival.
Members of XDA Developers quoted Hung-ying Tyan of Google’s Project Treble initiative during an Android Dev Summit session. “We are also exploring ways to make future GSI available earlier than the release of next Android version. So you will be able to try out [the] next Android version earlier over GSI. And at the same time we can also get early feedback from you, so the benefit is mutual. So please stay tuned for our further announcement on this,” Tyan said.
Historically, the source code for a new version of Android is first made available to the public through the Android Open Source Project, or AOSP. We use the term ‘public’ loosely, as such early stage betas are still primarily intended for testing by third-party developers and enthusiasts.
Dropping a Generic Source Image (or GSI), before this release would mean that those with the know-how would be able to manually flash a build of Android Q onto their devices before the source code is actually released.
With regards to the Galaxy X, this means there’s a greater chance that the device will arrive running Android Q, or at the very least benefit from a prompt upgrade sooner after launch than most Samsung handsets usually enjoy.
In reference to the Infinity Flex Display (but likely applicable to the Galaxy X too), it sounds like, when unfolded the software experience (likely powered by One UI) will also be able to accommodate three apps on-screen simultaneously, making for some serious multitasking. “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 Galaxy X – Performance and battery
There’s little in the way of information on what internals the Galaxy X is expected to boast but it isn’t a huge leap to assume that it, like the forthcoming Galaxy S10, will pack either Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 855 or Samsung’s own Exynos 9820, depending on the market the phone is released in.
Whilst neither chipset is cited as supporting an integrated 5G modem, there’s still the possibility that the Galaxy X will be a 5G-capable handset, if only to compound its already cutting-edge nature. As stated by its creators in an official statement released at the tail end of 2018, “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.”
While this doesn’t confirm that the Galaxy X will pack in 5G, Samsung has at least seeded the possibility of its inclusion. The wording of “foldable and 5G smartphones” could also imply that the S10 or some other high-end Samsung will be the phone to bring 5G to the table while the Galaxy X simply focuses on its foldable design.
As for battery technology, there’s no doubt that Samsung’s engineers must have had a tough time designing the Galaxy X in such a way that its power source could track with its foldable form.
According to the CGS-CIMB research agency, there’ll be a pair of batteries to power each of the displays with combined battery power of up to 6,000mAh, LetsGoDigital reports.
It would make sense for Samsung to provide two batteries to power the outer facing display and the internal fold-out display, which is only powered upon activation. It also stands to reason that the pair of displays would need much more power than the 3,000 and 3500mAh cells that sit within the current Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus flagships.
The filing, complete with diagrams, details a foldable device with two batteries controlled by a processor that will detect which cell currently has the most juice and place that one in charge of powering the phone. The same logic applies to the wired or wireless charging of the batteries too.
The method explained also looks set to guard against device overheating – something Samsung is all too familiar with. When the temperature reaches a certain point, the other battery will simply take over and give its partner time to cool off. The filing also explains that a current control circuit can handle switching between the two cells without interrupting the power provided to the device.
Are you liking the sound of the Samsung Galaxy X? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.