Flexible OLED display technology has been available since 2005, and throughout the years, there have be talks about foldable screen mobile smartphone development. We've seen the technology used to for curved displays on phone screens, but a real foldable screen has never hit the mainstream market before. After almost 15 years, we have a glimpse at the first 2 truly foldable phones: the Samsung Galaxy Fold & the Huawei Mate X.
When flexible OLED displays were first announced, the most anticipated uses of it were definitely either rolled up or folded, like a Flip-phone 2.0. When most smartphones ditched the QWERTY physical keypad, the classic clamshell phone was also left in the dust. Now, in 2019, Samsung has showcased the Galaxy Fold, while Huawei has announced the Mate X, both of which feature a large foldable OLED screen. Are these the new and improved clamshell phone? Read on to find out more about these two new devices.
SAMSUNG GALAXY FOLD
The Samsung Galaxy Fold sports a 4.6" AMOLED screen to use while folded, and a separate 7.3" foldable dynamic AMOLED Infinity Flex Display on the inside. But, what is the use of a tablet screen in a phone besides the obvious larger screen real estate. Samsung has paired this massive Infinity Flex display with a beefy Qualcomm 7nm octa-core processor and 12GB of RAM to allow the first ever triple tasking capability. You are now able to simultaneously use 3 different applications on the same Infinity Flex display. To power this beast of a mobile device, Samsung has housed 2 batteries (one on each side) that total an impressive 4380mAh battery combined to collaboratively power the device. In terms of memory, the Galaxy Fold comes with 512GB of onboard memory with no expandable memory options.
With social media being so prevalent in our daily lives, camera quality is also very important. The Samsung Galaxy Fold features an astounding 6 cameras: a 16MP ultra-wide camera, a 12MP wide-angle, a telephoto camera on the folded back-side; a 10MP selfie camera with 8MP depth sensing camera next to the foldable screen inside; and a 10MP selfie camera on the front side of the folded phone. Samsung has made the odd choice to cut a massive notch at the top right hand corner of the large inner 7.3" display to fit the front-facing camera. Coming from the same company who marketed a whole campaign knocking Apple and other companies for the inclusion of a notch on their mobile phone displays, this is definitely the most blaringly distasteful drawback to the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Besides that, looking at the Samsung Galaxy S10+ being 7.8" in thickness, we're guessing the Galaxy Fold could be roughly 14" or more in thickness, which is considerably thicker than even the very first Galaxy S1. This could be a deal breaker for some, which is why this device will be only for savvy early adopters with it's $2000USD asking price.
HUAWEI MATE X
Hot on the heels of the Samsung Galaxy Fold is Huawei's Mate X Foldable phone featuring a 8" AMOLED screen on the outside, which folds to become a 6.6" main display, and a 6.4" rear display. The device utilizes a "falcon wing" latch hinge protrusion to lock the phone into its folded state, and house the 4 rear cameras. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Mate X's 4 rear cameras are also used for selfies via the use of the folded back screen. No word yet on the specifications of the 4 camera lenses, but under the hood the Mate X bests Samsung with 2 batteries (one on either side) that combine to provide 4500mAh of juice. The Mate X uses Huawei's own inhouse Kirin 7nm octa-core processor with 8GB of RAM. No word yet on triple app multi-tasking capabilities. For memory, the Mate X comes with 512GB onboard storage with expandable memory options using the second nano-SIM card slot with Huawei's proprietary nano memory (up to 256GB).
Where the Mate X shines is its inclusion of 5G capabilities that Huawei tauts as 'the fastest 5G speeds in the world'. Samsung has only added the 5G capabilities to a different S10 phone variant. This doesn't mean much to most, as North American service providers are not expecting to roll out 5G networks to the mainstreen until 2020. In terms of form factor, the Mate X one-ups the Galaxy Fold by folding almost completely flush with a thickness of only 11mm. Although still thicker than most, the overall package that you get with the Mate X is the one to beat in terms of foldable smartphones. The limiting factor will lie in the asking price of €2,299 (~$2600USD), which will keep this from being a mainstream device. At roughly $600USD more than the Galaxy Fold, it's hard to predict whether or not the Mate X will also be the clear winner in sales.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold launches in April 2019, while the Mate X does not have a release date, but is possibly launching in some markets in Q2 of 2019.