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Samsung’s (S10) foldable phone is the Galaxy Fold, starting at $1,980 – available April 26th

Posted: February 21, 2019 at 9:13 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Samsung announces a new Galaxy S phone in the first half of every year, so while it’s no surprise that we would get an official look at the new S10 and S10 Plus devices today, the company also unveiled the Galaxy Fold, its first foldable smartphone. This was a product Samsung had teased since last fall and worked on for years, with its first prototype dating back to 2012.

Alongside the smartphones, Samsung also confirmed all of the new wearable devices it let loose earlier this month on its own app. Here’s a recap of all the biggest announcements from this year’s Unpacked event.

Samsung’s first foldable smartphone has been teased since last fall, and today, we got a few more details about what this device can do. When folded, the Galaxy Fold measures 4.6 inches, and it opens up to a 7.3-inch display tablet. You can browse apps on the phone as you would regularly and unfold the device to maximize the resolution. (Samsung calls this “app continuity.”) In the tablet mode, the device can handle up to three windows at the same time for multitasking. There also seems to be a corner notch on one side of the screen. A center line that divides the device into two halves is somewhat visible, but only when looked at from a slight angle. We’ll provide more details on this in the hands-on when we get a chance to check out the device ourselves.

Samsung is using a new 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display that allows the phone itself to have a tablet-sized screen that can be folded to fit into a pocket. The main display is QXGA+ resolution (4.2:3), and when it’s folded, a smaller 4.6-inch HD+ (12:9) display is used for the phone mode. Samsung is using 512GB of Universal Flash Storage 3.0 (eUFS) for fast speeds, alongside a Qualcomm 7nm octa-core processor and 12GB of RAM. Samsung has even built two batteries for its Galaxy Fold, that are separated by the fold but combined in the Android operating system to represent a total of 4,380 mAh.

Samsung has built a sturdy backbone to the device, with a hinge system that has multiple interlocking gears. All of these gears are hidden at the rear of the device, and allow the Galaxy Fold to transform from tablet to phone modes. Samsung says it’s able to fold at least 200,000 times, which works out to over 5 years if you fold it 100 times a day. At the rear of the device there’s also a triple-camera system that will be used for both tablet and phone modes. There’s a 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera, alongside 12-megapixel wide-angle and telephoto cameras at the rear, and a 10-megapixel cover camera for selfies. Samsung is also creating four different colors for the Galaxy Fold, but it’s the main tablet display that’s key here.

As with every new Samsung Galaxy S phones, the devices get a significant spec bump year over year: the S10 and S10 Plus now sport what’s called a dynamic AMOLED display, and they are HDR10+ certified to take even crisper, brighter photos. The camera sensors have been laser-etched into the screen, making it a notch-less display. The fingerprint sensor is also built into the display, so no more taping the back and possibly smearing the camera lens.

The new S10s also offer a triple-camera array on the back, with a new ultra wide mode and a shot suggestion AI similar to what Google has brought to the Pixel phones. There are some fun new camera effects, too, like live filters for blurring or swirling the background that overlays the effect before snapping the picture. The devices also include a new power-sharing mode that lets you charge a second device, like the new wireless Galaxy Buds, off the phone itself through Qi technology.

Samsung is allowing the Galaxy Fold to run three apps at once on this Android device, and it’s using an app continuity system to adjust these apps when you move between tablet and phone modes. Apps like WhatsApp, Microsoft Office, and YouTube have all been optimized for the new display and modes, and Samsung has been working with Google to ensure Android 9 Pie fully supports this display.

Samsung demonstrated a variety of apps running in this mode, and the switching from phone to tablet and vice versa. It looks rather smooth in the software right now, but it’s fair to say that the Galaxy Fold looks far better when it’s folded out than being used as a traditional phone. The phone display is clearly designed to be used with one hand, but it’s flanked by large bezels that aren’t found on the tablet mode. We’ll need to get a closer look at the Galaxy Fold to find out exactly how this impacts the device usability, though.

Samsung isn’t the only smartphone maker creating a foldable device, but it’s certainly one of the first to make it widely available. Xiaomi teased its own folding phone recently, that looked like the best concept we’ve seen so far. Huawei is also reportedly planning to release a foldable handset this year, and Lenovo has started to tease its own prototype. LG has also been developing flexible OLED displays and TVs that roll up into a box. If all these manufacturers progress toward shipping a device like Samsung, then expect to see a lot of foldable phones in 2019 and beyond.


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