An unknown Chinese company earlier this week unveiled the world’s first foldable smartphone, beating Samsung and Huawei to the punch. The two companies had been racing to claim the title of having unveiled the first foldable handset in the world, but now neither will be able to say they were first.
Samsung has been developing its first foldable handset for years, and the company will share preliminary details this month at its developer conference, according to recent reports and teasers. But before that happens, we’ve got one more rumor for you regarding the unreleased handset: The design has reportedly been finalized, and the phone is now in production.
According to Korean-language news outlet The Bell, Samsung has settled on the final design of the foldable handset, deciding on a dual-screen setup that would allow a person to use the phone even when it’s folded. The decision was made back in July, as Samsung was still weighing the advantages and disadvantages of going for a dual-screen design.
Many rumors refer to Samsung’s first foldable phone the Galaxy F, a product name The Bell doesn’t use in its report. The Galaxy F moniker came up again earlier this week when a report showed the product name is real and that it will likely be a flagship device. That report could not confirm whether the “F” stands for foldable, but it’s the name that makes the most sense for Samsung’s foldable flagship.
The main OLED screen, the one that folds, will sit on the inside of the phone, measuring 7.29 inches and offering users a tablet-like experience. On the outside of the handset, a secondary 4.6-inch OLED screen will let users operate the device as a regular phone.
This Galaxy F body is reportedly quite thick. Power consumption will also increase because of the extra screen, and the price will be higher than the other design Samsung had in mind. A foldable Galaxy F with only one folding screen on the inside would force the user to open the device for every interaction. However, the screen would be protected at all times and the device would be thinner and cheaper to produce. The risk of screen damage from drops would also be lower, given that the phone would not have a screen on the outside when folded.
Samsung, however, went for the more complex design that features a second display on the outside. The foldable phone we saw earlier this week, which is already available for preorder, has a folding screen on the outside.
The Bell also notes that KH Vatec will mass-produce the phone’s hinge, which is designed to allow a nearly perfect fold with the two sides of the display almost touching. The small space between them will prevent damage from drops. The hinge will also feature an internal gear mechanism that allows the user to fold out the screen at different angles.
Samsung will start mass-producing parts for the phone this month, with initial volume expected to reach 100,000 units per month. Samsung is said to be aiming to produce 500,000 to 1 million units a year. Finally, the report says the Galaxy S10 will be unveiled at MWC 2019 next year, and the timing for the Galaxy F “Unpacked” event is unclear as a result.