From crazy concept, to long-running tech legend, to (almost) reality... perhaps. It's been an interesting journey for the revolutionary smartphone known as the Samsung Galaxy X, and according to the Wall Street Journal we're finally going to see it appear in 2019.
What we know for sure is the Galaxy X is a folding phone, and is set to kick off a revolution in mobile handsets... once the technology is ready.
We're still not sure whether Samsung will actually calls its upcoming folding phone the Galaxy X (though it seems pretty likely). However, we're very confident that it won't be called the Samsung Winner, which is the internal codename for it at Samsung.
This is a story that has run and run and run, and we've got a wealth of rumours, leaks and speculation to share with you, as well as the occasional bit of official news from Samsung. Read on to find out everything we know about the phone so far.
Samsung Galaxy X: release date and price
All we have so far on this is "not this year" and "very expensive" – the Galaxy X is now widely tipped to arrive in 2019, so we might be looking at CES 2019 in early January, or MWC 2019 in late February, two of the biggest tech expos of the year.
On the other hand, Samsung might deem this a significant enough launch to put together a completely separate event.
Twitter tipster Ice Universe, for one, thinks the phone will be coming in January, although a CES debut for a major new phone seems a bit unlikely to us, based on recent years. That would leave MWC free for the Galaxy S10.
Recent comments by Samsung CEO DJ Koh suggest the phone is going to be the first in a series of foldable handsets, so it's no exaggeration to say this is going to mark a big change in the market, and one that should be well worth waiting for.
But will it actually be called the Galaxy X? Leaks we've seen lately suggest the phone will end up being named the Galaxy F (F for foldable). We'll have to wait and see.
CES2019：Galaxy XMWC2019：Galaxy S10July 4, 2018
Another possibility is that Galaxy X will be teased at CES or MWC, with a full release later in the year. A factor likely to be at play is Samsung's determination to be the first to market with a foldable phone. Other brands said to be lining one up reads like a Who's Who of tech: Apple, LG, Huawei and Motorola.
Considering this is innovative tech we haven't seen before, the price of the Samsung Galaxy X isn't likely to be cheap. The current rumoured cost is a rather testing £1,365 or $1,775 – that's the current exchange rate for 2 million won, which is the mooted Korean price.
If you want the coolest smartphone of 2019, you'd better start saving for it.
Samsung Galaxy X: screen
Every smartphone is dominated by its screen, but the Galaxy X especially so. It's currently expected to feature a phablet-esque, 7.3-inch OLED screen that folds lengthways, but not exactly in half. There's no word on screen resolution as yet but we'd obviously expect somewhat higher than HD resolution.
Oh, and apparently the Galaxy X screen is unbreakable.
Looking a little like a wallet when folded, the handset would have a small amount of screen real estate still visible at the bottom for notifications, even when folded shut (like the 'Edge' screens on some Galaxy S phones over the years).
A patent and series of sketches located by LetsGoDigital closely matches the look and features of the X as described in the WSJ report that tipped a 2019 launch.
Said patent was published originally in March 2017 and republished July 11 2018 and clearly shows a folding phone with a "hidden display" on the rear, which only becomes noticeable once the device is folded in two.
Want to get some idea of how this will look? The experts at industry designers TechConfigurations have been mocking up some designs so we can all get a better idea of what's coming down the line.
And if you want any more concept renders, then the fine folks at Dutch website NieuweMobiel are only too happy to oblige: we hope that the finished product from Samsung ends up looking as good as these shots do.
The Galaxy X will apparently use a 6-axis sensor to determine which orientation or position the phone is in. When the phone is folded it will know it, and as shown in the image below, will then automatically extend the size of the second display to enable some cool extended functions.
Some reports say Samsung has begun final preparations for the production of foldable screen panels, which backs up the theory that a launch is on the way.
Samsung Galaxy X: features
This patent sketch gives an idea of how the X's folding screen could work. When unfolded, you could message your good friend, er, 'Bass Sniper', to tell him or her that you love them.
Then, with the phone folded, Mr or Ms Sniper's replies are still visible in the message window left visible at the bottom of the screen. Apparently, if only a small part of the secondary display is visible, the screen becomes brighter, with smaller icons.
Interestingly, the patent also suggests that Galaxy X would be compatible with Samsung's S Pen digital stylus – either the current Note one, or a new variant. That fits with rumours we've heard that the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines might end up merging next year.
The other obvious use of a folding screen is that it acts like a 2019 update of the classic 'clamshell' phone shape from the days before smartphones.
If you're carrying this phone around in your pocket or bag, folded down, most of the screen is protected (which might affect the business of one or two phone case manufacturers).
Other features that could be included, although we have no concrete idea, are all the ones mooted for the other 2019 Galaxy – the Samsung S10. So there might be 5G connectivity and an in-screen fingerprint reader... or there might not. Given the amount of innovation already in the Galaxy X around its screen, Samsung might very well to keep the rest of the feature set more established.
That also goes for waterproofing: Samsung has mastered this on its other Galaxy phones, but getting it on a foldable display might prove tricky.
One other thing that we hopefully will see is wireless charging, as once you've had that, it's hard to go back.
Samsung Galaxy X: battery life
That folding screen could also do wonders for battery life as well, though we're not sure exactly how many mAh the Samsung Galaxy X is going to be packing. With part of the screen still visible when the phone is closed, it should mean less unlocking and a phone that goes longer between charges.
Reports in Asia suggest Samsung has been working on a flexible battery to go in a flexible phone, with sizes between 3,000mAh and 6,000mAh. Which one makes it into the final product is anyone's guess right now, but the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus comes packing 3,500mAh, for reference.
Samsung Galaxy X spec: processor, RAM, storage and camera
With production reportedly underway, the Galaxy X is tipped to be using the successor to the Snapdragon 845 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).
The question here is whether Samsung will go all out to add bells and whistles to its most innovative phone, or whether it has decided screen innovation is sufficient, and that buyers will be able to live with a more basic (though still high-powered) spec.
If they're charging well over £1,000 or $1,000 for it, you'd hope they were going down the bells and whistles route, though.
In terms of RAM, we might see 4GB-6GB installed, and the usual 64GB and 128GB storage options, although 256GB must be a possibility, assuming it can be made to fit. That lines up with the rumours we've been hearing for the other Samsung phones due to launch in 2019.
One component that could suffer is the camera – cramming the tech into a flexible or folding phone isn't going to be easy. Considering Samsung makes some of the best smartphone cameras in the business though, we're hoping it can figure something out here.
Samsung Galaxy X: other rumours
It has also been suggested that the Galaxy X might have 3 hinged OLED panels rather than one 'bendy' one that folds into a wallet-like shape. This would certainly be easier to make.
Tech analyst Park Hyung-Woo has suggested the new device will feature two inside panels and one outside panel, with the two inside panels forming a 7.3-inch screen when the phone is unfolded.
Figure that one out. We'd definitely rather see a phone that 'bends' rather than clamshelling together like a Nintendo 3DS, but time will tell.
It's also worth mentioning that Samsung has announced a folding phone twice before, with nothing appearing at all. This time, however, it seems the dream is real…