Samsung launches foldable smartphone with price tag of $1,980

Galaxy Fold, on sale April 26th, changes from a 4.6in display to a 7.3in tablet when opened

Samsung has announced it will release a folding smartphone, the Galaxy Fold goes on sale on April 26th for $1,980 (€1,744). Video: Reuters

 

Samsung has unveiled its first foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, which transforms into a tablet, adding a new category to the smartphone market. It comes with a price tag just shy of $2,000.

The expected announcement of the company’s flagship S10 phone took a back seat to the Galaxy Fold, which was introduced at the company’s “Unpacked” event in San Francisco.

The Galaxy Fold changes from a 4.6-inch display to a 7.3-inch tablet when opened. It can multitask, displaying three different apps on the tablet screen. It will come in LTE and 5G versions, and goes on sale on April 26th for $1,980 (€1,744).

Irish users might have to wait a bit longer to get their hands on the Galaxy Fold here as Samsung is planning a phased launch in markets.

“It’s a smartphone, a tablet and a camera that fits in your pocket,” said Samsung Electronics’ Justin Dennison.

The Fold has a six-camera system – three on the back, two on the inside, one on the front.

Samsung Electronics president DJ Koh said the Galaxy Fold would set the industry on a new path. “It breaks new ground because it answers sceptics who say that everything possible has been done, and the era of smartphone innovation is over,” he said. “We are here to prove them wrong. Today marks a new beginning.”

Samsung has been working on foldable displays for some time, and had widely been expected to add a foldable phone to its line-up in the coming months. The company has sold more than 2 billion Galaxy phones over the past decade.

Fingerprint scanner

After the excitement of the Galaxy Fold, the flagship Galaxy S10 got its turn in the spotlight. The phone comes with a triple camera, a camera incorporated into the display, and ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, which Samsung claims is a world first.

Samsung is selling three versions of the smartphone: the 6.1-inch S10 and the S10 Plus, which will come with a 6.4-inch screen, plus a cheaper S10e with a 5.8-inch screen.

The devices will add an ultra-wide angle lens to the dual camera set-up that Samsung featured on last year’s S9 and S9 Plus, joining the telephoto lens and a 12-megapixel camera lens.

The new lens has a 120-degree field of vision, enabling ultra-wide panorama photos. The camera has also been smartened up with a new artificial intelligence system to help choose the best settings for your photos.

Samsung has also avoided the notch on the S10 screen to accommodate the front-facing camera, a design feature that has divided fans of the iPhone, Pixel 3 and Huawei Mate 20 phones.

The South Korean company has opted for a “hole punch” in the display, dubbed the Infinity-O display, with a single front-facing camera on the S10 and a dual set-up on the S10 Plus.

Leaked

Many of the features of the S10 had been leaked in the days leading up to the launch, including the battery sizes.

Samsung has kept a similar design to last year’s S9 and S9 Plus, although it is adding new colours to the line-up.

To those who say they have seen it all I say: Buckle your seatbelt – the future is about to begin

The phones also include the ability to share their battery power with other wireless devices, similar to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and supports the Wifi 6 certification.

The Galaxy S10 will be available from March 8th, starting at €769 for the S10e, €919 for the S10 128GB version, and €1,019 for the S10 Plus.

“To those who say they have seen it all I say: Buckle your seatbelt – the future is about to begin,” Mr Koh said.

Samsung also used the event to announce a new set of bluetooth earbuds, named Galaxy Buds. The new earbuds have been slimmed down a little and have the ability to control Samsung’s AI assistant Bixby.

New wearables, the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit, were also introduced to expand the company’s growing accessory line, and can be charged via the phone’s wireless power share feature.