We’re about to witness an exciting year in the history of the smartphone, as 2019 will bring us not only the first commercial foldable phones but also the first 5G devices, as carriers around the world will turn on their 5G networks. To add intrigue to mystery, Huawei just confirmed that its first foldable handset will also be its first 5G phone.
Huawei earlier this year said that it wants to launch the world’s first foldable smartphone, putting pressure on Samsung. Until the news came out that Huawei is ready to challenge Samsung, it was widely believed that Samsung will claim that title. That may still be the case, as Samsung will unveil some details about its first ever foldable phone in November, during its developer conference.
Then Huawei teased its own foldable handset at IFA 2018 a few weeks ago, suggesting that a device with a foldable screen could replace computers.
Earlier this week, Huawei Chairman Ken Hu said at a panel at the World Economic Forum that the company’s first 5G phone will have a foldable display.
“In our first [5G] smartphone we’re going to introduce a foldable screen,” Hu said, according to Telecoms. He didn’t reveal any other details about the handset, and the panel focused on the benefits of 5G in the short term rather than devices.
It makes plenty of sense to pack 5G support inside a phone with a novel form factor because foldable phones will have bigger batteries and more room for additional antennas. 5G will require more battery life, reports have said, as well as different antenna arrays.
Hu also said that the phone will arrive in the middle of 2019. Huawei could announce the phone much earlier than that, to continue its attack on Samsung.
We have no idea whether Samsung’s first foldable phone will have 5G support, but Samsung did say the Galaxy S10, due in early 2019, won’t be its first 5G phone. Come November, we may learn more details about Samsung’s most exciting phone in years. But even if Samsung unveils the Galaxy F this year, you shouldn’t expect to see it in stores until later in 2019.
Samsung on Thursday came out of left field with a phone that’s not a flagship, but which happens to sport a few features unseen on Samsung flagship handsets. The new device isn’t part of the iconic Galaxy S or Note families. Instead, it has a boring name that doesn’t do it justice: The Galaxy A7.
Anyone shopping for high-end Android handsets is likely to ignore that product name because it screams mid-range and affordable. The Galaxy A7 is indeed supposed to be a mid-range Android device, although the price hasn’t been shared at this time.
The handset features a flat 6-inch Full HD OLED Infinity Display (2220 x 1080 resolution, an unidentified octa-core processor, 4GB/6GB of RAM, 64GB/128GB of Storage, 3,300 mAh battery, and Android 8.0 Oreo.
What’s interesting about the handset is that its main feature is a triple-lens camera on the back that’s not available on any Samsung device right now. We’re looking at a 24-megapixel main lens, an 8-megapixel Ultra Wide lens, and a 5-megapixel Depth lens. On the front, there’s a 24-megapixel selfie camera.
The main camera is placed near the top left corner, similar to what Apple does with the iPhone X phones. Samsung’s multi-lens cameras are usually found in a central position, both on the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note.
What’s also immediately clear is that the Galaxy A7 doesn’t have a rear-facing fingerprint sensor. But the sensor isn’t included into the screen either. That’s because it sits on the side of the phone.
The phone will come in four colors, including blue, black, gold and pink, and seems to arrive just in time to take on the colorful iPhone XR. Samsung choice of colors and wallpaper for the press render does look somewhat similar to iPhone XR renders.
It’s unclear when it’ll launch, or how much it’ll cost. But the Galaxy A7 does show that Samsung’s DJ Koh meant it when he said a few days ago that Samsung would bring novel features to mid-range phones for a change. “In the past, I brought the new technology and differentiation to the flagship model and then moved to the mid-end. But I have changed my strategy from this year to bring technology and differentiation points starting from the mid-end,” Koh told CNBC a few weeks ago after IFA 2018.
The Galaxy A7 must be how it all starts.
Samsung has a lot of work to do to get smartphone users excited about its flagship smartphones again, but we think the company is definitely up to the task. In fact, the turnaround might start sooner than everyone thinks. 2018 has been an uninspired year for the world’s top smartphone vendor. The company’s new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ were met by yawns when they hit store shelves earlier this year, and they’re on track to be Samsung’s worst-selling Galaxy S phones since 2012. They’re not bad phones at all. In fact, to this day they’re still among the fastest, sleekest, and most powerful Android phones in the world. But they’re also among the most boring Android phones in the world, sporting a look that’s the same as last year’s Galaxy S8 phones and no new features that might compel people to upgrade. Then the Galaxy Note 9 followed the same model, though it added at least one new feature that people found a bit intriguing — a new S Pen with built-in Bluetooth. Of course, a neat new stylus might not be enough to get people to cough up the cash for Samsung’s most expensive flagship phone ever.
Thankfully, next year’s Samsung flagship phone lineup will be a much-needed breath of fresh air. And it all starts later this year, when Samsung plans to give the world a preview of its first smartphone to feature a foldable display. We’re as eager as anyone else to check it out, but we’re also not terribly excited about its release. Why? Because word on the street is the foldable “Galaxy F” will launch in limited supply with a price tag approaching $2,000. There’s another upcoming new Samsung smartphone we’re far more excited about, and new a new leak offers additional details about the upcoming Galaxy S10.
Samsung’s tenth-anniversary Galaxy S phone is shaping up to be the company’s most exciting flagship handset in years. In fact, it might end up being Samsung’s most exciting smartphone ever. So much has already leaked, and just about everything we’ve heard has been good news.
The Galaxy S10 will be Samsung’s first new smartphone to be powered by next-generation 7-nanometer chips. Apple’s new A12 Bionic in the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR is the first 7nm chip to reach consumers’ hands, but Qualcomm and Samsung’s 7nm offerings won’t be far behind. These new chips pack far more transistors into a much smaller space, and they’re more powerful and more efficient than anything found in phones right now. In addition to 7nm Snapdragon and Exynos SoCs, the Galaxy S10 will also feature new faster RAM and flash storage chips that offer further improvements.
A big redesign is also in the works for the Galaxy S10, and Android fans are excited. Rumor has it the phone will finally feature an “all-screen” design that puts it on par with other modern smartphones. The current-generation Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 both still have big bezels above and below the screen.
Better Super AMOLED displays and triple-lens cameras are also in the cards for the Galaxy S10 next year. The larger Galaxy S10+ model will reportedly have a dual-lens front-facing camera as well, giving it five different camera lenses in total. Both the Galaxy S10+ and the smaller Galaxy S10 are said to feature an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor as well. This new type of sensor can be embedded behind the display, so users need only touch a finger to the screen in order to unlock a phone or authenticate a payment.
There’s indeed plenty in store for Samsung fans next year, and now we have new news to share. The latest Galaxy S10 leak comes directly from Samsung itself, and it was the xda-developers blog that caught the slip up.
The XML files seen above were found inside Samsung’s Android 9.0 Pie update file for the Galaxy S9+. For those who haven’t been following, “Beyond” is known to be Samsung’s internal codename for the upcoming new Galaxy S10. With that in mind, what you see above is indisputable evidence of four different versions of the Galaxy S10. Here’s a breakdown:
- beyond0: This is believed to be an entry-level version of the Galaxy S10 with less impressive specs and a lower price point
- beyond1: This is Samsung’s main Galaxy S10, believed to have a 5.8-inch AMOLED display
- beyond2: This is the larger Galaxy S10+ model with a 6.44-inch screen and five cameras in total
- beyond25g: This is also the Galaxy S10+, but it’ll be Samsung’s first flagship to support 5G
Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 lineup is expected to be unveiled as early as January next year at the CES 2019 trade show in Las Vegas. From the looks of it, there will be something for everyone when the phones are released later in the first quarter.
At this point, we still don’t have a firm idea of when Samsung’s foldable so-called Galaxy F smartphone will finally arrive — whether it will land in November or at some point after that. And now here comes a new rumor about the materials Samsung will use for the handset. Apparently, Gorilla Glass won’t be part of it.
That’s according to SamMobile, which reports that though Samsung already uses the special cover glass made by Corning to protect the displays of many of its other smartphones, technological limitations are apparently the reason the long-awaited foldable phone won’t sport Gorilla Glass.
Samsung can’t use Gorilla Glass for the Galaxy F, according to the site, “due to the former’s rigid nature. The strong glass wouldn’t allow the device to fold into half. Samsung will thus use a transparent polyimide supplied by Sumitomo Chemical of Japan. It would be less durable than Gorilla Glass but would allow the Galaxy F to retain its flexible form factor.”
Samsung’s much written about foldable smartphone has certainly already been the subject of scores of leaks and rumors that are still circulating, and we can now add this to the pile. Which is ironic, of course, because the company hasn’t even confirmed what the device will actually be called (thus the unofficial Galaxy F designation that seems to have stuck, for now). We got hints the company might show it off at its developers’ conference in November, which may or may end up being true.
Per SamMobile, the Galaxy F may not be actually released until early next year.
“Foldable smartphones (are) expected to gain popularity in the coming years,” according to the site. “It’s thus no surprise that Corning has reportedly developed a flexible glass solution, too. Samsung has reportedly decided against using that solution for the Galaxy F and will use Sumitomo’s polyimide instead.”
It’s not the worst news for Corning in terms of losing out on this, since there reportedly won’t be a mass production run at first for Samsung’s foldable phone — indeed, that it might not even hit one million units initially. Forbes noted in recent days how, “speaking to The Investor in its home country of South Korea, Samsung officials told the publication there are no immediate plans for mass-production of the foldable displays required to make the company’s radical Galaxy F folding smartphone. Something which will come as a surprise to many. Just last week, Samsung CEO DJ Koh spoke about his company’s race to get this potential game-changing phone to market, saying it ‘didn’t want to lose the world’s first title.'”
Details keep trickling out about a major shakeup under way at Samsung that encompasses everything from the handset maker revamping the design of its flagships to its attempt to make its mid-range smartphone models more attractive to millennials. And now comes word that Samsung will be killing off its Galaxy J budget series entirely, which is apparently part of the reorganization of its lower tier and midrange smartphone series.
News about the Galaxy J getting deep-sixed comes via ET News, which reports that Samsung is going to kill of the Galaxy J series and as a result expand the Galaxy A lineup to cover some of those lower price points.
Furthermore, per SamMobile, that report states that “Samsung is planning to introduce the Galaxy M lineup to replace the online-exclusive Galaxy On series devices. The Galaxy M models will target the budget segment, where the Chinese brands are most dominant. They will reportedly be priced very competitively so that Samsung can effectively compete against its Chinese rivals in key markets such as India, Latin America and in China itself where its market share has eroded to below one percent.”
Samsung apparently is ok with taking a hit on profit margins as part of playing a longer game of maintaining and hopefully growing its position in those markets.
All of this comes as Samsung is rethinking so much of how its smartphone business operates, such as a key angle we reported earlier this month. DJ Koh, the CEO of Samsung’s mobile business, told CNBC the company is going to change itself up a bit so that it brings new cutting-edge technology to its cheaper phone models like those in its Galaxy A series first. Before the tech ends up in the company’s much pricier flagship models later.
Meanwhile, Samsung fans are expecting to be wowed by the upcoming tenth generation of the Galaxy S, and to that end Koh told Chinese media outlets earlier this week that “very significant” design changes for the Galaxy S10 are on the way. He didn’t elaborate beyond saying that some “amazing” color choices would be available. Nevertheless, the writing on the wall is clear. Samsung knows it’s being challenged on every front, at every level of its business, and needs to respond accordingly.
“Chinese brands have made a lot of progress in the emerging markets with their value-for-money offerings,” SamMobile reports. “While the growth in some markets didn’t necessarily come at the expense of Samsung, it was a lost opportunity for the company for sure. The intensity with which the Chinese brands compete in the market demands Samsung to take some drastic steps, and it might be planning to do exactly that with these reported lineup changes.”