Samsung is ready to show off a fully functioning foldable phone.
- The world's biggest phone company is reportedly ready to show off a fully functional foldable smartphone.
- Samsung is preparing to show off the device in London and San Francisco on February 20, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- The device might be called the "Fold", "Galaxy Fold", or "Galaxy F."
- Samsung still hasn't determined a sale date, but it's indicated the device will be available in the spring.
Samsung is reportedly preparing to show off a fully functioning foldable phone on February 20, marking the tenth anniversary of its flagship Galaxy lineup.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung will unveil the phone at events in San Francisco and London. The device still doesn't has a name, but names being floated include the "Fold", "Galaxy Fold" or the "Galaxy F."
It isn't clear when the phone will actually go on sale. Prior reports peg a release date around March or April, with a price tag of $1,770. According to the Journal, Samsung has been showing the device to its carrier partners at the CES tech conference in Las Vegas this week.
Samsung has teased some details of its first foldable phone already, showing off its "Infinity Flex" display on a prototype device in November at its developers' conference. That appeared on a clamshell device which, when folded up, has a regular display on the front.
When the device is unfolded, the interior opens like a book to show off a 7.3-inch screen and turning the phone into a small tablet.
That device ran a custom version of Android with features such as "App Continuity." That allows the user to keep using the same app whether the phone is folded or unfolded, with the app adapting to the display size.
Normally, Samsung announces new devices at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but it appears to have made an exception for its latest flagship. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is because Huawei plans to launch a competing foldable phone at Mobile World Congress.
Samsung is the world's biggest smartphone maker, according to IDC, accounting for 20% of all mobile phone shipments globally in the third quarter of 2018. The second biggest is another Asian phone maker, Huawei, which holds 15% of the market, with Apple in third place at 13%.
While it's Apple which has been in the news for declining iPhone sales, there's a wider drag on the smartphone market that's also impacting Samsung. IDC noted an overall decline of around 6% in phone shipments for the third quarter, and pointed to economic instability and the fact fewer people are replacing their smartphones.
Like Apple, Samsung suffered a year-on-year decline in its shipment numbers, according to IDC. Its shipments were down two percentage points.
Samsung warned earlier this month that its fourth-quarter operating profit and revenue declined, and blamed the slowdown in China.
The foldable phone, then, is the firm's latest shot at producing another hit phone, with a major innovation that may land well with consumers. As quality smartphones become commoditised, it is harder for the top-tier manufacturers to offer more than incremental upgrades even on their flagship devices.