For years now we've heard rumours that Samsung is prepping a foldable phone called the Galaxy X, and in recent months those rumours have reached fever pitch. It's looking more and more likely that the fabled handset is going to be with us within the next 12 months.
Here we'll get you caught up on all the gossip, speculation and official news we've heard so far, so you know what's coming round the corner – and can perhaps decide whether the Galaxy X is worth a purchase. We've also included everything we're hoping to see too.
Samsung Galaxy X: price and release date
Hold on to your hats – according to South Korean financial paper The Bell, Samsung is planning to show off the Galaxy S10 at CES 2019 (in January) and then the Galaxy X at MWC 2019 (at the end of February).
Samsung often pegs its launches around big trade show events rather than having its own special occasions marked in the calendar, so this makes sense to us, even if that Galaxy S10 launch is earlier than we'd normally expect.
Samsung hasn't explicitly said anything about a release date or indeed much about the Galaxy X at all, but it did confirm in a recent earnings call that the company was getting into the field of foldable OLED technology. At this stage it would be a big surprise if the Galaxy X turned out not to be real – it's actually been showing off concepts since 2013 (see the pictures embedded above and below).
There's little news on a price yet but brand new technology like this is guaranteed to put a serious dent in your wallet. Earlier this year the Galaxy S9 tipped up for £739/$720, and the most recent leaks suggest the Galaxy S10 will cost about the same, or a little more.
With that in mind, we'd say the Galaxy X is easily going to smash the £800/$800 barrier. Samsung will want to keep the figure in the three digits, but there's inevitably going to be a premium on something that hasn't been done before. To be honest, we'd be happy to pay up – if it works as advertised.
Samsung Galaxy X: design and specs
According to the most recent information to leak out on the web, the Samsung Galaxy X is going to have three OLED screens. The front of the device will have two 3.5-inch screens that can open out into a 7-inch tablet, and when the gadget is folded, you'll be able to access another 3.5-inch screen on the back (or the front, depending on how you hold it).
Production is slated for the end of the year but it sounds as though Samsung hasn't quite decided on what form the finished product will take. What does seem likely is that the company won't go overboard with how many devices it makes – it's going to stick to a limited production run to begin with, to see what the demand is like.
As we're talking about next year, the successor to the Snapdragon 845 could be the chip Samsung uses to power everything. Saying that, this is a completely new design, so maybe Samsung will opt for something custom-made (as it does for the Galaxy phones in certain markets). It would be a shame if such a revolutionary device ended up being underpowered.
In terms of RAM, we might see 4GB-6GB installed, but Samsung probably doesn't want to go up any more than that to make sure the price doesn't rise too high. As for internal storage, we'll probably see the usual 64GB and 128GB combinations, with 256GB a possibility. The internal architecture may not match Samsung's standard phones, so it depends how much it can cram in.
And what about the camera? With those extra screens to consider, it's possible that we'll see a modest camera spec so it doesn't interfere too much with the displays. Samsung probably has its hands full trying to work out the display technology without worrying too much about the camera, but it'll have a snapper of some kind, and we'll be happy if it can just take above-average pictures, something which Samsung should be able to pull off.
Samsung Galaxy X: other features
What else can we expect to see from the Samsung Galaxy Galaxy X? Samsung will want to make sure the device hits the right balance between innovation and cost-effectiveness, and won't want to cut any corners – it knows that other manufacturers are working on this too, with the ZTE Atom M already launched and a foldable Motorola Razr phone possibly on the way as well.
With three screens to power, it seems likely that Samsung is going to have to stick a fairly sizeable battery in here – maybe bigger than the 3,500mAh one inside the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. Again though it depends what can be squeezed into this new form factor, because too much bulk would interfere with the folding design.
Now that Samsung has figured out how to do wireless charging and waterproofing so well on its Galaxy phones, we're hoping that the same expertise carries over into the Galaxy X. Once you've had a phone with an IP68 rating and wireless charging, it's hard to go back – but getting all this on a foldable display might prove tricky.
It remains to be seen just how Samsung will handle the hinges: the ZTE Atom M is basically just two screens bolted together, though we'd like to see Samsung go further with something that's actually flexible in parts – in other words, you get a full, unbroken screen experience when the phone is opened out into its 7-inch mode.
Whatever Samsung brings out, we're sure it's going to be worth the wait, and it might even change the way we use smartphones forever. Stay tuned for further updates and revelations about the Galaxy X, which we'll post here.