Will the story of Samsung’s £1,500 foldable device have a happy ending? Mick Sharp reports.
Pity, if you will, the poor mobile-phone designer. Every year your boss comes to you and says he wants you to come up with something “totally different” from what has gone before. If you’re honest, you probably can’t think of anything that hasn’t already been tried, and you start to ponder whether the technology world has reached “peak mobile”.
Samsung’s boffins’ solution to this hi-tech head scratcher is to give the world its very first mobile phone with a foldable screen; I sense for no other reason than no one’s done it before. Imaginatively named the Samsung Galaxy Fold, its development was shrouded in mystery and the mobile comms world was abuzz with leaks and rumours about how a foldable screen could work. Available this month, the Fold has a 7.3in screen that bends over itself when you store it away. “The image is very sharp,” says Charlie Floyd on businessinsider.com, “and is the size of a small tablet or e-reader. Ideal for travellers.”
Samsung believes its breakthrough technology will mark “a massive change in the market”, says Aaron Brown in T3 magazine. “If you’ve cracked the foldable screen, you might as well put them in everything.” Will a bendable 4K TV be next? Then there’s the very thorny issue of price – somewhere in the region of £1,500.
Jaws dropped in Cupertino in the US last September when Apple unveiled the £1,000-plus iPhone XS Max. Now Samsung is upping the ante even further. Admittedly, you get a high-end processor, 12GB of RAM and a triple-lens 16MP+12MP+12MP camera as well as that – relatively – large screen. There are plenty of “early adopters”, keen to be seen with “the flashiest tech in town”, says Aatif Sulleyman on trustedreviews.com, “and the Galaxy Fold is certainly that”. Perhaps the bigger question is whether people will actually
go for the foldable screen, or regard it as a “gimmick”. “There hasn’t been huge consumer demand for flexible displays,” adds Floyd, who feels the latest development has really been “driven by the industry”.
Price: £1,500; Size: 7.3in folding dynamic; Amoled screen Memory: 12GB RAM, 512GB storage; Available late April; pre-register at samsung.com