Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, which becomes a smartphone when closed and a tablet when fully opened, may have brought phone design to another level.
The first foldable smartphone is to be released April 26 at a starting price of about US$1,980, according to Samsung on Feb. 20 at the Samsung Unpacked event in San Francisco.
“Galaxy Fold is a device of a very new category. The phone will be able to entertain the users with some innovative form factor,” said Samsung Electronics’ mobile chief Koh Dong-jin.
Making a change in the form factor of a product -- the size, composition and arrangement of the hardware -- has been a big challenge for the industry. Ever since 2007, when Apple released its rectangular bar-shaped iPhone, phone designs have remained rather stagnant.
Previously, multiple companies had attempted to ditch certain elements of traditional phone design. In 2013 Samsung released the Galaxy Round, a smartphone with a horizontally curved display. In 2014 LG made a change with its vertically curved G Flex. Although the new shapes provided a comfortable grip, they retained the fundamental rectangular glass-and-metal design.
Other major phone makers are expected to follow suit. The major Android phone maker LG has filed a patent for a foldable device, and Huawei announced last year that it would release a new phone with 5G technology as well as a foldable screen.
By Kim Hye-soo (firstname.lastname@example.org)