Samsung led its first Unpacked event for 2019 with its new Galaxy Fold, (US Samsung site) a folding smartphone that looks like two Galaxy smartphones placed together, with a 4.6-inch screen on the outside and two screens inside that unfold into a seamless 7.3-inch display.
The 7.3-inch screen is able to display three compatible apps at the same time, with one of the left as a large pane, and then two on the right in smaller format, one above and one below.
A fingerprint reader appears to be on the side, and "app continuity" means that compatible apps you interact with when the Fold is folded into phone mode will open up on the larger 7.3-inch canvas when the tablet side of the fold is opened.
Separate articles on the Samsung S10, wearables and other devices coming here at iTWire soon.
It also means you'll be much more likely to want to open the Fold up so that you can look at Google maps, YouTube and Netflix videos and other content on what is clearly a much more stunning 7.3-inch screen than the 4.6-inch screen.
It also looked like the 7.3-inch tablet screen didn't reach the edges of the chassis either, with a section seemingly reserved for the front facing tablet camera.
Now, while this new Fold is clearly a super advanced device, at a price that was nearly US $2000, it's also clear that this is a first generation device.
Future Fold models will have an external screen that stretches to the edges on both the internal and external screens, with the same kind of "o" on-screen cutout seen on the new Galaxy S10 Plus.
Samsung is also famous for including a stylus with its tablets, but no sign of a stylus was seen with the first generation Galaxy Fold as yet - it's a feature presumably set to emerge with a Galaxy Fold 2.0 in 2020, or maybe a Galaxy Folding Note to come.
That said, any such model or models is presumably a year away at least, and for those who love the latest and greatest, as well as unique technologies, the Fold will be irresistible - and as per usual with any new technologies, expensive to start with.
While the Fold comes with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, the space restraints seemingly precluded the inclusion of a MicroSD slot, but with 512GB on hand, and options like Google Photos to store your images online, you shouldn't be running out of space anytime soon.
There's plenty more but here's the 2019 Galaxy Unpacked 2019 keynote video, which is definitely worth watching and has details on all the new products and services Samsung launched today.
The video has also been set to start at 30 minutes and 48 seconds, which is when the event actually starts – with more detail on the Fold below, and with S10 and other Samsung articles coming shortly.
Naturally, Samsung describes its Fold as "creating a new mobile category".
The 7.3-inch screen is dubbed "the world’s first 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display, which folds into a compact device" with that aforementioned 4.6-inch cover display.
D.J. Koh, president and chief executive of IT & Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics, said: "Today, Samsung is writing the next chapter in mobile innovation history by changing what’s possible in a smartphone.
"Galaxy Fold introduces a completely new category that unlocks new capabilities never seen before with our Infinity Flex Display.
"We created Galaxy Fold for those that want to experience what a premium foldable device can do, beyond the limitations of a traditional smartphone.”
Samsung proudly boasts the Fold is "a smartphone and tablet folded into one" in a category of its own that "delivers a new kind of mobile experience allowing users to do things they couldn’t do with an ordinary smartphone. Users now have the best of both worlds; a compact device that unfolds to reveal Samsung’s largest-ever smartphone display.
"Galaxy Fold brings together material, engineering and display innovations, developed over eight years following the debut of Samsung’s first flexible display prototype in 2011."
Set to launch on 26 April in the US, Samsung Electronics Australia said in a statement: "Samsung customers in Australia will be among the first in the world to experience the new Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone when it’s launched.
"Samsung’s first foldable mobile device features a breakthrough design coupled with an entirely new user experience on a Galaxy smartphone.
"When opened, the new form factor is ideal for creating and viewing content and provides incredible productivity capabilities. When closed, it provides seamless portability.
"Customers can register an expression of interest to purchase the Galaxy Fold when it becomes available in Australia via www.samsung.com.au. Registrations open from 09.00AM AEDT on February 21, 2019.
"Australian on-sale date and pricing details for the Galaxy Fold will be announced closer to its launch in the first half of 2019."
Garry McGregor, vice-president of IT and Mobile, Samsung Electronics Australia, said: "Galaxy Fold is a symbol of the future of mobile technology, ushering in a new category of smartphones that will change the way we live, work, and play on a mobile device.
“From the moment you pick up the Galaxy Fold and open it, you’ll discover an entirely new experience, seamlessly moving between displays without missing a beat. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is built to deliver all the power and performance Aussies expect from Samsung, now optimised for the foldable experience.”
Here's more detail from Samsung's media release on the various aspects of the Fold, including a short list of specs.
New Display Materials:
- The internal screen does not merely bend. It folds. Folding is a more intuitive motion, and a more difficult innovation to deliver. Samsung invented a new polymer layer and created a display around 50 percent thinner than the typical smartphone display. The new material makes Galaxy Fold flexible and tough, built to last.
New Hinging Mechanism:
- Galaxy Fold opens smoothly and naturally, like a book, and closes flat and compact with a satisfying click. To achieve this, Samsung engineered a sophisticated hinge with multiple interlocking gears. This system is housed in a hidden enclosure for a seamless and elegant look.
New Design Elements:
- From the screen to the housing, to every element you can see and touch – Samsung left no stone unturned. The fingerprint scanner is found on the side where the thumb naturally rests, so the device unlocks easily. Two batteries and the components are evenly distributed so Galaxy Fold feels balanced in your hands.
- Colours with unique finishing—Space Silver, Cosmos Black, Martian Green and Astro Blue1—and the engraved hinge with Samsung logo complete its elegant fit and finish.
A Whole New Experience
Galaxy Fold was designed with smartphone users in mind – driven by bigger and better form factors that boost their experiences. Galaxy Fold changes to the screen you need, the moment you need it. Slip it out of your pocket for one-handed calls, texts, and more and open for endless multitasking and higher quality viewing on our largest mobile display for presentations, digital magazines, movies, and AR content.
The unique UX built just for Galaxy Fold, provides new ways to get the most out of your smartphone:
- The possibilities are virtually endless with Galaxy Fold – designed for the ultimate multitasker. You can open up to three active apps simultaneously on the main display so you can surf, text, work, watch and share without losing a beat.
- Make intuitive, seamless transitions between the cover and the main displays. As Galaxy Fold opens and closes, apps will automatically show up where you leave off. When you’re ready to take a photo, make in-depth edits, or have a closer look at the feed, open the display for a big screen and fuller canvas.
- Samsung worked with Google and the Android developer community to ensure that apps and services were available for the Galaxy Fold’s unique experience.
Premium Performance Built to Fold
Galaxy Fold is built for the heaviest and intense use whether it’s working, playing or sharing — all of which requires advanced performance. Packed with powerful hardware, the Galaxy Fold is more than up to the task.
- To ensure everything runs smoothly, even when running three apps simultaneously, Samsung equipped Galaxy Fold with a high-powered, next-generation AP chipset and 12GB of RAM with PC-like performance. The sophisticated dual battery system was specifically engineered to keep up with you. Galaxy Fold is also capable of charging itself and a second device simultaneously via Wireless PowerShare, while connected to a regular charger so you can leave your second charger at home.
Ultimate Multimedia Experience:
- The Galaxy Fold is designed for entertainment. Thanks to immersive visuals on the Dynamic AMOLED display and crisp, clear sound by AKG with the stereo speakers, your favourite movies and games come to life in rich sound and colour.
Our Most Versatile Camera Yet:
- No matter which way you hold—or fold—the device, a camera will be ready to capture the scene, so you never miss the moment. With six lenses—three in the back, two on the inside and one on the cover—the Galaxy Fold camera system has flexibility built in. Galaxy Fold introduces a new level of multitasking, allowing you to use other apps during a video call.
Do it All with Galaxy Fold
- Galaxy Fold is more than a mobile device. It’s a portal to an entire galaxy of connected devices and services that Samsung has developed over the years to make it easier for consumers do the things that they couldn’t do before. Pair with Samsung DeX2 for even more productivity power with a PC-like experience.
- Bixby is supported with new personal intelligence functionalities like Bixby Routines to help anticipate your needs, and Samsung Knox will keep your data and information safe.
- From using your phone to make purchases with Samsung Pay, to using Samsung Health to manage your health and wellness, the Galaxy ecosystem is there to as you pursue the things you’re passionate about.
Galaxy Fold will be available in the second quarter of 2019.
Galaxy Fold Product Specifications
- Main display: 7.3” QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED (4.2:3)
- Cover display: 4.6” HD+ Super AMOLED (21:9)
- Screen measured diagonally as a full rectangle without accounting for the rounded corners
- 10MP Selfie Camera, F2.2
Rear triple camera
- 16MP Ultra Wide Camera, F2.2
- 12MP Wide-angle Camera, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, F1.5/F2.4 12MP Telephoto Camera, PDAF, OIS, F2.4, 2X optical zoom
Front dual camera
- 10MP Selfie Camera, F2.2 8MP RGB Depth Camera, F1.9
AP (Application Processor or CPU)
- 7nm 64-bit Octa-core processor
- 12GB RAM(LPDDR4x), 512GB (UFS3.0)
- *User memory is less than the total memory due to storage of the operating system and software used to operate the device features. Actual user memory will vary depending on the operator and may change after software upgrades are performed.
- *No MicroSD slot
- 4,380mAh (typical)*
- Fast Charging compatible on wired and wireless Wired charging compatible with QC2.0 and AFC
- Wireless charging compatible with WPC and PMA
- 4,380mAh (typical) refers to the typical value of the battery capacity as tested under third-party lab conditions. Typical value is the estimated average value considering the deviation in battery capacity among the battery samples. Rated (minimum) capacity is 4,275mAh. Actual battery life may vary depending on network environment, usage patterns and other factors.
- Android 9.0 (Pie)
We're also reminded that "all functionality, features, specifications and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice".