Last year was a tough one for Samsung. First, its Galaxy Note 7 blew up, and I don’t mean in popularity. It literally blew up in people’s hands, which led to a massive recall. Then there was the whole corruption scandal that saw the family-run conglomerate in hot water for bribery, embezzlement, and perjury.
Samsung could use some good news, and while it goes through its annual corporate reshuffle, there are rumors the company is also looking to revolutionize the way we use phones.
For almost a decade, Samsung has been talking about foldable smartphones. It was eight years ago when it showed off its first flexible display. Now, the company is getting close to launching a phone that might also fold out into an eight-inch tablet. Or is it a tablet that also folds into a phone?
However we classify this new tech, the Samsung Galaxy X, which is being hailed as the world’s first “smartlet” (smart tablet), could be coming to select markets sometime in 2017. Though, with all the corporate upheaval over the last few months, those plans could end up being delayed into the early part of 2018.
Not to be outdone, LG is looking to release its own version of a foldable smartlet sometime this year. Although its patent is completely different as far as design goes, it appears a bigger screen in a compact phone design is the future.
When can we expect to see this new, truly innovative technology? Will its radical design still have the same features as previous models?
As we did with the iPhone 8, we’ve set the odds on when the smartlets will be released, who will hit the market first, and what bells and whistles we can expect.
2017 Samsung Galaxy X Odds
As mentioned above, Samsung is currently going through a corporate reshuffle. It’s something the company does annually, but instead of January, it has been delayed until February or March, which in turn, might delay a Galaxy X launch.
Corporate musical chairs aside, many believe a 2017 launch of the Samsung Galaxy X is wishful thinking and far too optimistic than anything rooted in reality. There is some talk a prototype could be shown to the world at this year’s Mobile World Congress in late February but even those claims have been met with skepticism.
Reports are that, when Samsung does release its first foldable phone, it will be tested in the U.K., Germany, Italy, South Korea, France, Poland, and Nordic countries first, and will not be sold in North America until the company feels the market is ready for the new technology.
- Odds the Samsung X is released…
- in or after January 2018: 3/2
- pre-September 2017: 2/1
- between September 2017 and January 2018: 3/1
NUMBER OF PHONES RELEASED
Samsung is considering launching not just one foldable phone model, but two. According to rumors, one of the phones would fold like a wallet while the other would fold in half like a flip phone, but have a clamshell design. One of the designs would unfold into a five-inch screen while the other would unfold into an eight-inch tablet.
None of this has been confirmed, and due to how cutting edge this technology will be, I expect Samsung to only release one phone to start. After that, the company will measure the reaction and adoption rate before considering releasing a second model.
- Odds on the initial release featuring a single model: 2/3
BELLS AND WHISTLES
Not much is known about the new phone’s features. With a radical design, it’s safe to say not all the bells and whistles Samsung has been famous for will be included in the Galaxy X. The biggest question is, with the phone needing to have a much thinner profile, what will happen to the battery?
There have also been reports the new Galaxy X will sport an AMOLED screen with a 4K resolution (2160 x 3840). That might seem like overkill but keep in mind that, with VR peripherals most likely being a popular add-on, a higher-resolution screen improves immersion, and Samsung seems to be all in on the technology.
There are also rumblings about the device being water and dust-proof. Can Samsung make the foldable phone – and all the hinges it will require – 100-percent water-proof? Or will it have to be downgraded to water resistant?
Another design challenge will be allowing users to see basic info like time and date when the phone is in sleep mode. This has long been a Samsung staple, and the addition of a second screen on the back panel has been discussed.
- Odds the Galaxy X will have …
- a dual rear facing camera module: 3/7
- an AMOLED 4k screen: 2/3
- a MicroSD slot: 2/3
- iris-scanning technology: 2/3
- a smaller, non-removable battery: 1/1
- a headphone jack: 1/1
- a “next gen” processor (Qualcomm SnapDragon 830): 3/2
- a water and dust-proof design: 3/2
- 4 GB of RAM: 2/1
- 6 GB of RAM: 3/1
- a secondary screen on the back panel: 4/1
WHO WILL RELEASE A FOLDABLE PHONE FIRST?
As mentioned, LG is also looking to launch a similar product and believes it can sell 100,000 foldable devices in the fourth quarter of 2017. There are also rumors that LG may allow other companies like Apple to tap into its “more advanced” outward folding tech.
- Odds to release the first “smartlet”
- Samsung: 3/2
- LG: 2/1
- Apple: 4/1
Feature Photo Credit: Pastimers – World’s Best and Worst Youtube Page