Say hello to Samsung’s first foldable phone

The Galaxy Fold is here to start writing the next chapter in mobile innovation history

Photo: EPA DJ Koh, head of Samsung Electronics Co.`s IT & Mobile Communications Division at the Unpacked event.

We've already had fingerprint and face scanners, a myriad of camera lenses, the death of the headphone jack and bezels that keep shrinking. But now a new mobile category is ready to kick off - completely foldable phones.

These are different from the flip phones of the '90s, in that they unfold and transform into a tablet-like device with a bigger seamless screen, thus making them the best possible option for both a compact handheld device and a big enough workspace to create or consume content. Samsung Electronics, the world's largest smartphone maker, had been strongly hinting for years that they'd release such a foldable mobile device and on Wednesday the company finally unveiled its long anticipated smartphone-tablet hybrid, dubbed Samsung Galaxy Fold, alongside a 5G Galaxy S10 handset and three other Galaxy S10 mobiles.

Billed as something that doubles as both phone and a tablet, the Galaxy Fold offers a 4.6-inch screen on the exterior device, with a special hinge that expands to reveal a full 7.3-inch bendy display.

So you might ask yourself what are you supposed to do with all the screen? Well, the Galaxy Fold has a special triple app multitasking system that lets you view three apps at once. For instance, users will be able to use Google Maps, call a friend, and message someone on WhatsApp at the same time. Additionally, there’s what Samsung calls its App Continuity framework that makes it easy to switch between using the front and interior screens.

The Galaxy Fold, however, isn’t all about that bendy screen. The phone sports 12GB of RAM and a Qualcomm 7nm 64-bit processor designed to ensure smooth app switching and display performance at all times. It features 512GB of onboard storage and is the first phone to featuring UFS 3.0, which should offer significantly faster app loading speeds, downloads, and more.

And in case that is not enough, the Galaxy Fold comes with six total cameras: three on the back, two on the inside, and one on the front. Furthermore, with the rollout of 5G in 2019, the Galaxy Fold will be also available in both 5G and 4G-LTE models.

“Today, Samsung is writing the next chapter in mobile innovation history by changing what’s possible in a smartphone.” DJ Koh, President and CEO of Samsung said. “We created Galaxy Fold for those that want to experience what a premium foldable device can do, beyond the limitations of a traditional smartphone.”

Yet, the new smartphone-tablet hybrid won’t come cheap. The ground-breaking device would start at an eye-watering $1,980 in the US. In Europe, where it would be launched on 3 May, the device would be even more expensive, starting at 2,000 euros.

But the price seems to worth it. Samsung isn’t the only smartphone maker creating a foldable device, but it’s certainly one of the first to make it widely available and despite the already released FlexPai bendable phone, released by the Chinese company Royole, it is not a complete crap. On the other hand, you might want to wait for a while before buying Samsung's product. Especially since Xiaomi is already teasing its own folding phone, that looks like the best concept so far. Huawei is also reportedly planning to release a foldable handset this year, and Lenovo has started to tease its own prototype.

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