A few smartphone manufacturers have been putting a lot of research and development into foldable phones, and Samsung will reportedly start production on such a device this November in order to launch the product in 2019. But the phone, currently referred to as the “Galaxy X,” won’t be cheap.
Analysts predict that the phones will cost about 2 million won, or $2,400 CAD, CNET reported. The phone will have a 7.3-inch OLED screen that will shrink to 4.5 inches when folded. Details about the phone may be released during CES 2019 in Las Vegas in January. If so, the foldable phone could be launched at the Mobile World Congress the following month.
“Parts affiliates and first-tier subcontractors will begin supplying parts to Samsung Electronics’ handset division beginning in November, at the earliest, with the company assembling the phone aiming for a launch next year,” Park Hyung-woo, an analyst at South Korean bank Shinhan Financial, told The Korea Times.
Smartphone demand has dropped as manufacturers struggle to differentiate their products from their competitors. In addition, people are not upgrading their phones as often as they used to. In the fourth quarter of 2017, sales of the devices dropped for the first time ever, according to U.S. research technology firm Gartner.
Samsung doesn’t mind taking risks in its designs—some of which have proven very lucrative. The Galaxy Note featured a very large screen, which is now commonly used by all smartphone makers on some of their devices. Samsung also introduced a curved display on the 2013 Galaxy Round, and now all of its flagship phones include the feature.
Manufacturers such as ZTE have already developed foldable phones. The 2017 Axon M features two screens that fold out into a tablet; however, it uses a hinge. The Galaxy X is expected to have either one large foldable OLED display or two OLED screens that fold face to face with practically no gap in between them when open, reported BGR.
Hyung-woo thinks the Galaxy X will feature two inner display panels as well as a third panel on the outside of the phone. “This new device is an interesting thing as it will have two inside panels and one outside panel with the two inside panels forming the 7.3-inch screen when the phone is unfolded,” Park explained.
Samsung’s foldable phone will likely be a big hit with tech fans, but the general public may be deterred because of its steep price. However, the iPhone X, which cost $200 more than its previous models, was the most popular smartphone in the world in the first quarter of 2018, reported Business Insider. Meanwhile, Samsung has been raising the price of its newest phones, including the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S8.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei is also working on a foldable phone.