SAMSUNG’S foldable smartphone is finally expected to launch today – and leaked designs suggest it’s enormous.
The gadget folds out into a full-size tablet, and raises the obvious question: are smartphones simply too big now?
The device, known through leaks and rumours as either the Galaxy X or Galaxy F, has been an ongoing project at Samsung for years.
Last month, Samsung posted a tweet that teased a possible reveal at its annual Developer Conference on November 7.
And today Reuters reports that Samsung will go ahead with a partial reveal of the phone’s design and features at the event.
“Samsung Electronics Co will depart from its usual policy of keeping product plans highly secret and provide some details of the phone’s key features for app developers this week,” the report read.
A Samsung official is quoted as saying: “Unlike our flagship products, the foldable phone is a completely new concept in terms of design and user experience, which requires a different approach.
“Before we take it to the market, we want to share with developers what we’ve done so far and see what they think of it,” the official said.
The point of the device is to blur the lines between a smartphone and a tablet.
You’d be able to carry around a large screen for watching TV or working – but still pocket it.
“Foldable phones hold the promise of allowing consumers to do more complex work that would normally be done on a tablet or laptop, but with a device that becomes far more compact,” Reuters explains.
And the design for the phone has already been leaked, fortunately.
The Bell, a respected news outlet in Samsung’s South Korea homeland, revealed that the phone would fold inwards like a book.
For contrast, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 smartphone is considered enormous, and only has a 6.4-inch display.
You’d expect a tablet to have a 7-inch plus display – like Google’s Nexus 7 or the Amazon Fire HD 7.
This display would fold in half like a book, closing the screen off from the outside and protecting it.
On the back of the device would be a second screen: this time a smaller 4.6-inch OLED panel, which is a similar size to an iPhone 8 display.
This screen would act as a “front cover” to the closed book that is your smartphone.
Samsung also released its own concept video teasing a possible design for the device – although the actual product may look different.
The bad news is that the phone itself looks significantly wider than a standard phone, due to the hinging mechanism.
This could make it difficult to pocket the device, or use it one-handed.
Apple found itself in hot water with feminists earlier this year, after the company slammed for making iPhones that were too big for women to hold.
It was in response to the 2018 roster of iPhones, which had the biggest screens on Apple smartphones ever.
The company also scrapped the small 4-inch iPhone SE, sparking further outrage among people with small hands.
Samsung could find itself at the centre of a similar controversy if these designs prove to be correct.
With a 7.29-inch screen, Samsung’s Galaxy X would be even bigger than Apple’s largest handset, the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max.
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The other bad news is that the phone will almost certainly cost you a pretty penny.
We spoke to industry expert Dan Ives, of Wedbush Securities, who said that Samsung’s foldable handset could cost far more than the £899 Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – currently Samsung’s priciest model.
“Given this totally innovative design and significant R&D behind it we believe $1,200-$1,350 price points are what we would expect when they eventually hit the market,” Ives told The Sun.
Phone makers typically use identical or near-identical numbers (rather than direct currency conversions) for US versus UK pricing.
So if a phone was sold at $1,350 in the USA, you’d expect UK pricing to fall somewhere between £1,250 and £1,250.
What do you think of Samsung’s folding smartphone? Let us know in the comments!