For about the past five years or something, everyone has pretty much agreed that Samsung’s Galaxy X release would be the world’s first foldable smartphone.
It’s been bumping around the rumor mill for just about as long as I can remember, leaking and then disappearing again like a fart in the wind.
Samsung has been investing A LOT of cash into its display business, and the main reason for this, oddly, is Apple.
Samsung makes OLED panels for Apple’s iPhones. It’s a HUGE business model for Samsung.
And through investment, Samsung has now become the de facto OLED guy in the tech space.
Foldable OLED is the next step in Samsung’s mission. But it’s taking a while to hit market.
2019 looks to be the year it will happen, but…
The Galaxy X saga just got A LOT weirder…
Samsung Galaxy X is NOT Foldable
That’s right: according to a reliable Chinese tipster (@MMDDJ_), the Galaxy X will actually be Samsung’s first “gaming phone” – and it will not fold. Not even a little bit.
The foldable phone is still happening, according to the information, but it WILL NOT be called the Galaxy X.
Taken with a pinch of salt, it would appear that Samsung is using the X brand for its gaming phones.
The foldable phone will NOW apparently be called the Samsung Galaxy F – and it’s going to cost A LOT of money!
Samsung Galaxy X UI LEAKED In Patent: How Your Flexible Phone Will Work
We’ve known for a long time that Samsung has ambitions to bring a phone with a fully flexible and folding OLED display to market, and in recent months many leaks and details have emerged pointing to a launch in 2018, with a so-called Samsung Galaxy X flagship.
A newly unearthed patent filing potentially casts some light on what we can expect in terms of handset design and a custom UI. However, there’s something a bit troubling about the patent, which is that it shows a folding device with two seperate screens joined by a hinge, rather than one continuous folding panel.
The patent shows a dual-screen phone with a UI designed to spread apps and features across both displays in both portrait and landscape orientations. The two screens would function like a physical split screen, with each panel running individual apps and with each having its own app switcher for multi-tasking.
The patent also shows games and other media running in a mode similar to the Nintendo 3DS, where the lower screen might feature a virtual controller, or other in-game feature (such as a minimap), while the top screen shows the main gameplay. Samsung would need to develop bespoke APIs for developers as standard Android games probably wouldn’t be able to support the features.
Another part of the patent shows that when the phone is folded, the rear display panel can show a book or album cover for the content you’re currently using.
While all of these features are interesting, we can only hope they don’t represent the final Galaxy X design and are rather showing a way of conceptualising it functionally. The whole point of the folding flexible OLED screen is to have one continuous display; if Samsung has used two displays with a hinge it defeats the whole purpose, in our minds at least, as such a clam-shell design has long been possible. Indeed, we remember the Sony Tablet P from 2011 having just such a design.
But Then The Plot Thickens (Even More…)
The WSJ then waded in with its own sources, claiming that Samsung would INDEED release its first foldable handset in 2019 and, get this… that it’d also be a gaming phone.
Here’s an extract from the story:
“The foldable-screen phone would create an entirely new product category and become Samsung’s third flagship device, alongside its primary Galaxy S and large-size Galaxy Note lineups, several of the people say.
“The initial rollout would be on a smaller scale, targeting specific markets like mobile gamers. If successful, it would pave the way for a broader commercial debut in the second half of 2019, these people say.”
The WSJ does not mention what this phone is called, however, so it is possible there is some connection (or cross-wires) with what @MMDDJ_ is reporting.
What Is The Galaxy X Then?
Is it a flagship? Is it a foldable phone? Is it a gaming phone? Will it be ALL three?
At this stage of the game, it’s anybody’s guess.
However, the fact that we’re getting more and more leaks indicates that a launch (or more detailed information) can’t be too far away.
Personally, I believe the handset will be foldable. And the idea of a focused, gaming phone from Samsung makes a lot of sense.
Asus and Razer have already done one, so perhaps Samsung is eyeing a niche on the horizon?
After all, Microsoft’s most profitable area of business these days is its gaming services. Perhaps Samsung has something similar up its sleeve for its Android phones?
Either way, early-2019 seems to be the period when we’ll first see the Galaxy X.
Samsung Galaxy GameDev
Samsung already has a game developer community which goes by the name Galaxy GameDev and launched WAY back in 2016.
It has a bunch of partners too, including EPIC Games and Super Evil Megacorp to name but a few.
I don’t know how active this community has been since 2016, but it does give Samsung a base of operations on which to build on.
If the Galaxy X is Samsung’s first gaming phone, then it will likely leverage the contacts, connections, and partners it has within this fold to make its game platform happen.
Or, at least… that’s the way I see it.
Samsung Galaxy X Release Date?
This is very much up in the air. With prior rumours focusing on the Galaxy X being the folding phone, it has been tipped for release every year for several years and has never appeared. However, it being a non-folding gaming phone now flips the script somewhat.
We know the folding tech is keeping the now Galaxy F off the market due to its complex nature and Samsung wanting to get it “just right”. With the Galaxy X gaming phone, there aren’t so many tricky bits to consider.
Samsung already has scheduled an August 9 event to launch the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, but it has now begun sending out invitations for another event on August 30, taking place around the IFA 2018 expo in Berlin, Germany. Could this be the launch of the Galaxy X gaming phone?
Now, I will just say that several sources are predicting this August 30 event might be an expected launch of the Samsung Galaxy Watch, a successor to the Samsung Gear S3.
However, that doesn’t rule out A) Samsung launching multiple devices at IFA 2018, including the watch AND the Galaxy X gaming phone, or B) such predictions being wrong and us actually just seeing the Galaxy X gaming phone launching at IFA anyway, whether a new watch shows up or not.
I can easily imagine Samsung wanting to launch the Galaxy X gaming phone inside 2018, as reports indicate it hasn’t done as well as hoped on Galaxy S9 sales. It’s hoping to shore that up somewhat with the Galaxy Note 9, but there probably isn’t much harm in pushing a dedicated gaming device too.
On top of that, there’s the news that Samsung has secured exclusive rights to the forthcoming Fornite game for Android, it will be a Samsung exclusive for between one and three months and will launch alongside the Galaxy Note 9, according to reports. However, the Galaxy Note 9 is pegged to be a £800-£1000 phone, and the gaming and Fortnite audience might not be able to field that kind of cost no matter how much they want the game on a portable device.
Enter the Samsung Galaxy X? Could it be priced slightly cheaper and launched at a time to capitalise on Samsung’s Fortnite on Android exclusivity window? My gut says yes.
Accoring to a report from Korea’s ETNews, Samsung has assembled a “task force” intended to streamline getting the Galaxy F into mass production in time for early next year. Samsung chief DJ Koh said, at the Galaxy Note 9 launch, that its flexible tech was now ready for a commercial product.
“I’ve talked about quality and durability, but now we’ve overcome and over the last ridge,” he said. It’s now just a case of getting the handset to market. In the same interview, he explained that the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10 would not be the only premium handsets launched by Samsung in 2019.
The task force consists of 200 Samsung employees and the firm is said to be very serious about launching the folding handset soon.
“The new Task Force has gathered the company’s existing [foldable phone] employees, but it is not yet in the mass production stage,” the report said.