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Samsung testing 2 foldable smartphone prototypes with specialized version of Android designed by Google

Samsung wants to radically change smartphone experience with 5G and foldable displays.

  • Published: October 27, 2018 2:47 PM IST
Samsung Foldable smartphone

Image credit: Weibo


Samsung, in an attempt to challenge iPhone maker Apple and other Chinese vendors, is preparing at least three types of smartphones. The Korean giant is reportedly working on a foldable smartphone, a 5G-enabled smartphone and cheaper version of its flagship model for 2019.

Samsung Galaxy S10 with 5G support

Samsung is working with US-based Verizon to introduce the world’s first 5G smartphone. The company is working on Galaxy S10, codenamed “Beyond” expected to launch at Mobile World Congress next year. The smartphone is expected to come in three variants – a cheaper version without curved display, a mid-range version with dual curved edge display and in-display fingerprint sensor and a third premium model with support for Verizon’s 5G mobile network.

According to Bloomberg, Samsung is aiming to secure support from the biggest US carrier as it aims to popularize 5G network next year. With 5G, consumers will be able to experience data transfer speed that is multiple times faster than existing 4G mobile network. Samsung has reportedly embedded a fingerprint sensor under the display of Galaxy S10 and has overcome the challenge of mass-producing such a device.

A cheaper Galaxy S10 is on the cards

With Galaxy S10, Samsung is also said to be preparing to challenge the business model of its Chinese rivals. The Korean company is said to be planning a cheaper version of its flagship model that could challenge flagships from Huawei and Oppo. The model could replace Samsung’s existing Galaxy A lineup altogether as it hopes to win consumers with the pull of Galaxy S branding.

The cheaper version of the Galaxy S10 will lack the dual-curved edge display design that was first seen on the Galaxy Note Edge in 2014. This particular model is also tipped to miss out on in-display fingerprint sensor in order to cut down on costs. Samsung is planning to ship all the three Galaxy S10 models with Android 9 Pie out of the box next year.

“We’re continually evolving our smartphone portfolio to provide our customers with new and exciting innovations and experiences. At this time, we don’t have anything to share about future devices. Please stay tuned,” Samsung told Bloomberg in a statement.

Samsung’s foldable phone codenamed Winner

Samsung has already confirmed its plans to share more information about its foldable smartphone codenamed ‘Winner’ at its developer conference next month. Bloomberg reports that Samsung is debating between two prototypes ahead of final release: one that is horizontally longer and the other vertically longer when unfolded. Both the models open from side and side and the landscape model has reportedly fallen out of favor.

This bendable display phone might not feature a fingerprint sensor and is expected to include an extra four-inch screen on the outside for basic features like browsing mails and messages, without having to flip it open. The prototype design could be similar to Motorola Razr phone with the screen opening with a snap. The report claims that the display is coated with a film that “feels like ones used in photography instead of glass.”

The hinge for this folding phone has already passed internal tests of folding more than 2,00,000 times but there are still questions related to its yield rate in mass production. The company is struggling to figure out technical problems that may arise during mass production including possibility of this foldable display cracking into dried paper. The report mentions that the prototype measures more than 200 grams and Samsung might reduce the battery size in order to make it lighter.

Watch: Google Pixel 3 XL Hands-On

Apart from engineering difficulties, Samsung is also addressing software issues by closely working with Google. Both the companies are said to be developing a special version of the Android operating system for the foldable smartphone. The interface of the final software is said to depend largely on which of the two design is chosen for final product.

Samsung is not expected to mass produce and offer retail model until second quarter of next year. However, the pressure is on the Korean giant to demonstrate feasibility of a foldable smartphone as its subsidiary aims to supply flexible displays to Apple and Chinese vendors next.

  • Published Date: October 27, 2018 2:47 PM IST