After months of whispers about exactly what form the hotly-anticipated Galaxy X foldable smartphone will take, Samsung has finally settled on its design. Given that the all-new handset will purportedly launch in February next year, Samsung seems to have really taken this decision down to the wire.
Only last week, reports from inside the company suggest engineers could not decide whether the Galaxy X should have a vertical fold, like a book, or a horizontal one, like a broadsheet newspaper. However, that debate has now been settled, according to the latest report from Korean-language news outlet The Bell.
According to the reliable publication, the main OLED screen measures around 7.29-inches and offers a traditional tablet-like experience. This expansive OLED display folds in-half – like the inside pages of a paperback – when the device is closed.
On the outside of the handset – the front cover of the aforementioned paperback, if you will – Samsung will have a secondary 4.6-inch OLED screen that will function inexactly the same way as the current Galaxy handsets.
This design means the larger, tablet-like display will be protected when it's not in use – something that's not possible with the design of the first-ever foldable smartphone, Royole FlexPai, which launched last month. The Royole handset keeps its display on the outside when it folds, exposing it the elements.
According to the report in The Bell, the Galaxy X is purportedly quite thick. Power consumption will also increase because of the dual-screen design. While a folding phone with a single screen would require less power, the design would require users to unfurl the handset for every single interaction – something Samsung purportedly did not want to force its users to do.
However, the addition of the secondary 4.6-inch OLED screen on the outside of the smartphone will undoubtedly increase the cost of the handset. Given the maxed-out Galaxy Note 9 already costs £1,099 ($1,249.99) – and that only has one screen – the upcoming folding smartphone will likely carry a hefty price tag.
The Bell also notes that South Korean firm KH Vatec will mass-produce the hinge, which is supposedly designed to allow for an almost perfect-fold with the two sides of the display almost touching.
The hinge is purportedly designed to leave a small gap between the two sides of the folded display in a bid to prevent damage during drops. It will also include a gear mechanism strong enough to hold the unfolded screen at different viewing angles.
Samsung is looking to kickstart mass-production of the parts that will be included inside the Galaxy X this week, with the company looking to produce 500,000 to 1 million handsets a year.
To coincide with the launch of production of the Galaxy X, Samsung updated the profile picture on its official Facebook page. The new profile image, which shows the Samsung logo folded-over itself, is a not-so-subtle hint at the folding mechanism tipped for its upcoming flagship phone.
The news comes as Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh claimed that the foldability of the Galaxy X will not just be a gimmick, but will instead offer delicious new features and experiences for users.
"Possibly when we start selling the foldable phone, it may be a niche market, but definitely, it will expand," Koh said. "I'm positive that we do need a foldable phone."