Samsung foldable phone: Could launch as a gaming device and may not be called Galaxy X after all

Samsung-Galaxy-X-foldable-phone-patent-korea

The long-rumored foldable smartphone from Samsung dubbed the Galaxy X was first spotted in a patent application earlier last year, and many rumors have since suggested that the handset will be released sometime in 2017. While that did not happen, a new report from South Korea indicates the mobile device with a foldable display is likely to hit mass production in November 2018.

According to ET News, which cites multiple industry sources privy to Samsung’s plan, the development stage for the foldable smartphone will supposedly begin this March while its manufacturing phase is set to kick off in September, with the actual rollout of the device set to start in December of this year or early in 2019.

But that was quickly refuted by Samsung’s DJ Koh, president of Samsung’s mobile business, who revealed that until a good UX becomes available by their Engineers, he doesn’t plan to give the foldable phones project a go-ahead. Hence, a 2018 release is not on the cards, but he did leave us an estimate for release of Samsung Galaxy’s first foldable phone when the US should be ready, too: end of 2019, as reported by ZDNet.

During a meeting hosted by the Korea Display Industry Association (KDIA) last year, Samsung Display’s principal engineer Kim Tae-Woong indicated that foldable OLED displays might be rolled out by 2019 as Samsung is said to be awaiting manufacturing capabilities and market demand to grow before producing foldable smartphones.

In regard to the specs of the phone, rumor has it that the Galaxy X will sport a 7.3-inch flexible OLED display that can fold inward. It has also been pointed out that the phone will have a third “outside” panel measuring 4.3 inches and this will act as the phone’s cover. However, nothing is confirmed yet about the foldable phone’s specs and features, so take this with a pinch of salt.

Update [June 16, 2018]: Meet Project V, the canceled Samsung foldable phone

A Chinese Twitter user has published some images he believes to be of the abandoned Samsung foldable smartphone prototype codenamed Project V (Valley). You might well remember that stories about Samsung working on a foldable smartphone run all the way to 2015 and in fact, it was first claimed that the phone would be ready for launch in 2016.

Now, according to the Chinese Twitter user, he has what was to be unveiled back then as the first foldable smartphone and indeed from the images, it does look like what Samsung would have released two or so years ago. The display screen, for instance, has huge bezels around it, something we hardly expect to see on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy X.

The disparities don’t stop there as we can see the images showing off a device with two separate display screens, where the main screen is thicker than the secondary foldable display akin to the underwhelming ZTE Axon M. In contrast, Samsung is expected to come up with a foldable smartphone that is actually bendable as seen in the featured image at the top.

Update [July 23, 2018] Samsung has plans to launch a foldable smartphone in early 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported recently. According to the publication, the Korean tech giant will unveil a 7-inch device that can fold into a shape that resembles your wallet but still leave some kind of display area on the outside.

Over a month ago, reports emerged that Samsung Galaxy foldable phone could cost in the regions of $2000, suggesting that it will be a niche device. Now, it is emerging that Samsung has plans of coming up with a gaming smartphone, but we have nothing to tie the gaming and foldable phones together.

It’s also worth noting that this isn’t the first time reports of Samsung getting ready to launch a foldable smartphone are showing up. Such reports first pegged the launch date to 2015 and since then, we should be having at least two iterations of the phone, but here we are. Last year, Bloomberg reported that the foldable phone will be out this year but it has now emerged that this will actually happen early next year. Only time will tell.

Related: Foldable phones: The good stuff that Android OEMs are cooking

Coming from the same source, it is also claimed that Samsung’s foldable phone won’t go by the name Galaxy X as it has always been the case. While we still don’t know what exactly Samsung will give us, this claim makes sense because, well, Galaxy S10. Previous rumors had claimed Samsung could tinker with the S9 successor’s name in order to match Apple’s latest naming scheme that started with the iPhone X.

All these reports don’t come from Samsung, which means they should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, we should get to know more details as we approach the end of the year.

Expected release date?

The earliest of rumors, which began appearing in the year 2016 itself, pointed to 2017-end possible unveiling. However, we know that it didn’t happen, and while recent rumors raised hopes with a release scheduled for 2018-end, Samsung’s president for Mobile Business, DJ Koh, revealed that there are no plans to release the foldable phone until the end of 2019.

The reason? Well, he said they need to develop a User Interface better suited to foldable phones before beginning commercial production for this type of handsets — which actually doesn’t seem very fair: why the company doesn’t have it already if they have been planning it since probably the year 2015, when first rumors started to spring in.

Another report from Korea also adds weight to this 2019 launch date, suggesting that Samsung has plans to show the device to various carriers in 2019 before going mainstream the same year. The report has also reiterated the presence of a 7.3-inch foldable screen, but there’s still no mention of the specs and features.

Even if the phone does materialize, it might not be within the average consumers reach primarily because of the price. As per the same report, it seems the Galaxy X will cost close to $2000, a figure that limits the device to a select few.

What do you think? Are we actually okay with the dawn of bezel-less displays that we could actually really, really wait for the foldable tech?