Well, no one knows yet, but we do know a foldable phone is coming. Until very recently when the Galaxy Flex name appeared, followed by Galaxy Fold as a nickname, we've heard Galaxy F a lot so you'll see all names in this feature until Samsung officially confirms the name. So, here is the story of Samsung's foldable smartphone.
Release date and price
- Prototype demoed November 2018
- Possible MWC 2019 launch
- Could cost $2000
Samsung's foldable phone has been rumoured to be coming for years. In 2017, there were reports suggesting we would see it at IFA 2017. But surprise, surprise, that never happened. Since then, we've head murmurings that the device will finally make its full debut at Mobile World Congress 2019.
That date has some serious potential now, especially as Samsung previewed a device with an Infinity Flex flexible display at its developer conference in November 2018, living up to Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh's previous claims in early September 2018 that the foldable device will be revealed in some way in 2018.
The company was originally rumoured to begin mass production of the foldable smartphone in November 2018, reveal prototype models to carriers behind closed doors at CES 2019, and reveal it officially at MWC in February.
Samsung said during SDC 2018 in November that mass production of the Infinity Flex display would start in a "matter of months" though, suggesting the device itself could still be a while off. That said, a while off should still mean 2019. Google announced separately in November 2018 that Android would support foldable phones and Samsung "plans to offer" one in 2019 - it is just not yet known when in 2019 this will be.
Supporting a sooner rather than later release, Samsung's mobile chief DJ Koh told Korean journalists that the company was working to produce a 5G phone, which wasn't going to be the Galaxy S10. That left some to assume this first 5G device might be the Galaxy F, though it's thought there will be four phone launches in 2019 for Samsung, comprising the S10, Note 10, a 5G phone, and a foldable phone.
Samsung is reported to be more interested in being the first to bring a foldable smartphone to market, rather than focusing on sales though. Koh suggested the foldable phone's launch is imminent, noting Samsung doesn't "want to lose the world's-first title", which means that while we think an MWC launch is perhaps a little optimistic, it is possible, even though it won't get that title now after Royole launched a foldable phone at CES 2019.
For those eagerly waiting Samsun'g foldable phone release though, we hope you've been saving since rumours started because it's been claimed the Galaxy F could cost within the $2,000 region. Industry analysts told Korea's Yonhap News Agency that the device could cost around 2 million won, which works out around £1350. Ouch.
Samsung foldable phone name
- Recent rumours suggest Galaxy F Series
- Galaxy Flex also reported
Samsung's foldable phone has gone by both Galaxy F and Galaxy X, though these could be internal codenames and the phone could come to market with a totally different moniker. Galaxy F Series certainly isn't unreasonable, though there has also been talk of Galaxy Flex, after The Wall Street Journal claims to have been told this name by a "person familiar with the matter".
Rumours supporting the device being called the Galaxy F, include mention of leaked model numbers. SamMobile claims the Galaxy F will be known as the SM-F900U in the States, SM-F900F in Europe and SM-900N in Asia. People have also taken to nicknaming the device Galaxy Fold.
Despite previewing the device during its SDC conference, Samsung didn't reveal the name of the foldable smartphone, focusing on the display technology instead so it's still unknown what it will officially be called.
Samsung foldable phone design
- Display panels that fold outwards
- Smartphone into tablet
- 5-inch to 7-inch
What will Samsung's foldable smartphone look like? It's long been claimed that the foldable smartphone will have a 5-inch display that will fold out into an 8-inch tablet.
Bloomberg made the claim back in 2016 before the Korea Herald added "sources familiar with the matter" have said the Galaxy F or Galaxy Flex will have display panels that fold outwards to become a tablet rather than folding into the screen.
Other reports suggested the Galaxy F would feature a 4.5-inch display that can be used as a regular smartphone, opening out to a 7.3-inch display when unfolded. Few specific details were revealed at the SDC 2018 conference, with the foldable device revealed in the dark disguising the design, but the idea of a tablet-sized display the can be folded up was confirmed, supporting the rumours.
During the SDC demo, the foldable device appeared to fold up into a brick shape with a cover display that could act as a phone. Samsung said three apps would be able to run at the same time on the display thanks to a "multi-active window" feature.
Galaxy F display
- OLED display likely
- Folding display
- Called Infinity Flex
Samsung is the OLED king, so it would come as no surprise to most if its foldable smartphone features an OLED display. What the specifications of this display might be are anybody's guess for now, though.
The company showed off a roll-out OLED display in May 2016 at an event called SID in San Francisco that was was just 0.3mm thick and featured 10R rolling radius, with the ability to roll up like a scroll, but the prototype device revealed at SDC 2018 was confirmed to be coming with an Infinity Flex flexible display, perhaps supporting the name Galaxy Flex. As mentioned above, the demo presented the device folding, rather than rolling.
At the beginning of 2018, Samsung mentioned foldable OLED displays several times in an earnings call, claiming these would drive growth along with Bixby so it's not a huge surprise to see a foldable display over the rolling option. Samsung also left hints on its Twitter and Facebook profiles in the run up to SDC 2018, changing the profile pictures on both accounts to show an image of its logo being folded - not along a hinge but actually folded back, further confirming the phone's screen will be flexible.
Additionally, LetsGoDigital claimed Samsung filed trademarks in the US around the name "Infinity", such as "Infinity-Flex". We now know this is the confirmed name for the display of the foldable device, tying in with the Infinity Display marketing term for the Galaxy S series and Galaxy Note series screens.
Galaxy F Series camera and hardware
- Flagship hardware likely
- 512GB internal storage claimed
- 6200mAh battery capacity
Rumours have been thin on the ground regarding what specifications the foldable Galaxy smartphone might offer, though SamMobile has said there would be a 512GB option and apparently at least one variant will be dual-SIM. The Note 9 is available in a 512GB option so it isn't unreasonable to suggest the Galaxy Flex would.
If the Galaxy F does eventually turn out to be a gaming phone as well as foldable phone, we can certainly expect flagship hardware, especially in terms of processor, graphics and RAM. Even as just a foldable phone however, we'd still expect decent specifications, including battery, camera, and hardware, especially if the $2000 price tag is accurate.
It's been claimed the battery capacity for the Galaxy F will be 6200mAh, made up of two 3100mAh cells.
Samsung's flagship smartphones offer great camera results, so it would be surprising for the Galaxy F not to follow suit. After all, a folding smartphone come tablet would be great, but it still needs to perform as well as a flagship smartphone would.
Samsung Galaxy F: Conclusions
The Samsung Galaxy F is one of the most rumoured smartphones out there, though following the prototype preview, we expect rumours will start picking up now.
We will continue to update this feature as more rumours appear surrounding the Galaxy Flex.