A new report from South Korea has offered new details on the release of Samsung’s foldable phone, which was given a sneak peek at the company’s annual developer expo in San Francisco earlier this week.
Citing a statement from Samsung mobile chief D.J. Koh, Yonhap News reported on Sunday that Samsung’s foldable phone, which is commonly referred to unofficially as the Galaxy X or Galaxy F, will be arriving sometime in the first half of 2019. While he declined to provide specifics, Koh told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that “at least” 1 million units will be rolling out to consumers, with another batch to follow if the device turns out to be “well-received” in the market.
In addition to hinting at a potential timeline for the Samsung foldable phone’s release, Koh explained that the company’s decision to preview the device at the Samsung Developer Conference on Wednesday and Thursday was a sign that its foldable phone technology is now at a point where it’s refined enough for mass production. This is in contrast to earlier reports from publications such asBGR India, which suggested Samsung might be limiting production to only 500,000 units for the foldable phone’s first batch.
“We would have long ago released a foldable phone if we were only interested in making a product that people would soon get tired of using,” Koh elaborated.
“Samsung Electronics tried to pursue the best user experience with the foldable phone to take the lead in the market, taking into consideration the display, battery, and size.”
This is Samsung's foldable screen technology, turning your phone into a tablet.— CNET (@CNET) November 7, 2018
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With Samsung’s foldable phone display seemingly ready for mass production and the company working closely with Google to create an “effective” user interface for the upcoming device, Koh also said that the company is planning to release new versions of its foldable phone each year, much like the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines get updated on an annual basis.
As noted by Bloomberg in a separate report, Koh likewise hinted at the “big opportunity” the 5G connectivity standard could offer Samsung in 2019, as the company’s plan to roll out 5G support to its device has been fast-tracked by about nine months.
According to Bloomberg, Samsung’s plans to release its foldable phone in the first half of 2019 is just part of the company’s broader objective to “revitalize slowing demand” for smartphones, given how users are now willing to wait longer before switching to a newer device. Last month, rumors suggested that Samsung is planning to offer a more affordable version of the Galaxy S10 when the new flagship line rolls out early next year. This is similar to how Apple introduced the lower-priced iPhone XR alongside the higher-end iPhone XS and XS Max in September.