You might think the Samsung Edge display is cool, but something cooler is coming very soon. Samsung has been working on foldable displays for many years now, and the Korean giant might be ready to launch its first foldable smartphone in 2017.
What will the specifications be like?
According to the latest patents filed by Samsung, the foldable Galaxy X phone will enter different modes when folded or unfolded. For example, as Patently Mobile reports, a user could touch an icon on the edge area of the phone so that the app will be open once the device is unfolded. According to the patent, multiple user profiles will also be displayed on the edge area, allowing for multiple users to enter their password to access their information — all from the device’s edge. It’s important to note that this patent was filed in November, but was not made public until now.
If rumors are to be believed, Samsung’s next Galaxy could sport an impressive pair of shooters and a cutting-edge display. According to a report from Chinese blog Wccftech, the Korean company’s next flagship will sport an AMOLED screen with a resolution of 4K (2160 x 3840), plus a dual rear-facing camera module. The latter, interestingly, will reportedly be entirely sourced from Samsung’s own camera division — in contrast to the Galaxy S7, several models of which packed Sony-made sensors.
A 4K phone screen may sound like overkill, but virtual reality was apparently one of Samsung’s considerations; higher-resolution screens have the potential to significantly improve immersion in phone-based VR peripherals like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear. And it isn’t far-fetched, either: in March, the company demoed a 5.5-inch “high resolution for VR” 4K panel in San Francisco.
A dual-camera module, meanwhile, could deliver a big improvement in photo quality: in theory, such shooters can deliver everything from improved zoom capabilities to more colorful, detailed shots in low light. Manufacturers are already jumping on the bandwagon: LG’s G5 sports a dual-sensor shooter, as does Huawei’s P9. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Samsung follow suit.
Samsung is allegedly testing two variants of its future flagship, with the main difference being the processor. One has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 620, while the other has the Snapdragon 820 or 830. These are some of the newest processors from Qualcomm that feature Quick Charge 3.0, but if a launch is slated for 2017, it’s likely Samsung will opt for something newer down the road.
The only other specs that were revealed with this report include 3GB of RAM, a MicroSD slot for expanded storage, and a non-removable battery. The presence of a MicroSD slot will be welcomed by many, but it’s unlikely this phone will be all that affordable, at least early on.
Where and when will be unveiled?
Sources have told Bloomberg that we could see Samsung’s first foldable phone in early 2017, possibly debuting at Mobile World Congress. The company is apparently considering building two new smartphone models — with one that folds like a wallet. One of the two devices will have a 5-inch screen when used as a cellphone, but can be rolled out to show off an 8-inch display.
Another rumor from a Weibo user via Sammobile says the South Korean giant will release five smartphones in 2017 — the Samsung Galaxy S8, the S8 Edge, the Galaxy Note 7, the Note 7 Edge, and the Galaxy X. The Galaxy X is the highlight here, as it will be an entirely new category of Samsung’s lineup that will focus on the company’s foldable display for smartphones.
All the mentioned devices, except the X, will have a Super AMOLED display with a 2.5K resolution, as well as a RGB subpixel arrangement. The Galaxy X, code-named Project Valley, is aiming far higher, with a 4K display using a “diamond PenTile subpixel arrangement.”
Other previous reports confirm the existence of Project Valley.
The company introduced the concept of a foldable display at CES 2013 and supposedly showed its first foldable phone prototype in a private meeting at CES 2014.
However, an old report by SamMobile suggests Project Valley may not have a wide international launch at first. According to anonymous inside sources speaking to the publication, when the Galaxy X first goes on sale, it’ll be available in the U.K., Germany, Italy, South Korea, France, Poland, and Nordic countries. An exclusive version for the U.K. retailer Carphone Warehouse is also listed. We can’t confirm this information, so take it with a grain of salt.
The U.S. isn’t mentioned, and although it’s certainly not official, restricting the phone’s launch would fit in with Samsung’s recent strategy. Samsung has been experimenting with launching different devices in different locations, controversially deciding to hold the Galaxy Note 5 back from the U.K. and Europe. Could Project Valley be a “designer” phone that’s all about the look, which Samsung says is what the region is looking for? If so, a U.S. launch may not come very quickly.
We’ll keep updating this article as we learn more about Samsung’s Galaxy X.