Samsung’s first truly flexible device converts from a phone to a tablet and will be available April 26.
The foldable future is finally here, and it’s called the Galaxy Fold. Samsung on Wednesday showed off the new foldable phone during its Unpacked event in San Francisco. The device has a 4.6-inch display when folded, and a 7.3-inch display when unfolded into a tablet. The phone will be available April 26 at a starting price of $1,980 (about £1,500 or AU$2,800). It’ll come in four colors: cosmos black, space silver, Martian green and astro blue. Apps shown off for the Galaxy Fold include YouTube, Netflix and Facebook.
The Galaxy Fold comes with 12 gigabytes of RAM and batteries on each side of the foldable phone, said Justin Denison, Samsung’s senior vice president of mobile marketing.
The gadget has six cameras, with three on the back, one on the front and two inside, Denison said. The phone will come in two versions, with a 4G and a 5G edition.
The three rear cameras are a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto camera and a 16-megapixel ultra wide camera. The two cameras inside are a 10-megapixel selfie camera and an 8-megapixel depth camera. The camera on the front is also a 10-megapixel selfie camera.
The Galaxy Fold does not have a microSD slot, and it comes with 512GB of memory. Its fingerprint scanner is on the phone’s side, like the Galaxy S10E, instead of using an ultrasonic, in-screen fingerprint reader like the rest of the Galaxy S10 line-up.
That’s “so users can access it if it’s open or closed,” Drew Blackard, Samsung senior director of product marketing, said in an interview after Unpacked.
The Fold will be available initially only for AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, Samsung said. It’s unclear about availability in other markets.
Blackard added that all regular Android apps will work on the Galaxy Fold. If developers enable them to scale, like when a phone shifts from portrait mode to landscape mode, they’ll adjust for the tablet mode as well. Developers will have to tweak the apps to take advantage of the multi-window feature and app continuity, he said.
Most major apps will be altered to work with the foldable format, Blackard said.
“Integration is simple for developers,” he said.
Samsung has been talking about a foldable phone for years and finally revealed a prototype in November. It uses a new screen technology called Infinity Flex Display that, Samsung says, lets you repeatedly open and close the device without screen degradation.
The Galaxy Fold is a compact smartphone when closed and a more expansive tablet when fully opened. Apps seamlessly transition between the display sizes, letting you pick up on the tablet where you left off on the smartphone. When the device is unfolded, you can use three active apps through something Samsung calls Multi Active Window.
The launch of the foldable phone was accompanied by a host of announcements, including the introduction of Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S10 smartphones.
Nearly the entire phone industry is experimenting with foldable devices. They’re seen as the next major leap in design and a way to get us interested in phones again. People are holding onto their smartphones longer than before, and it’s getting harder to justify a pricey upgrade given the relatively minor tweaks made every year. The hope is that foldables can change that and introduce a new way of interacting with electronics.