Not only did Bloomberg reveal a bunch of previously unknown details about the Galaxy S10 on the day the iPhone XR hits stores, but it also spoiled quite a few surprises about Samsung’s most exciting Android phone ever. It’s not like the Galaxy F — which is what we’ve been calling the foldable handset lately — has been a huge secret, since we’ve seen several reports about the phone in recent months. But we never knew the foldable screen that Samsung has developed for the phone supposedly “shatters like dried paper” when it cracks.
The foldable phone will be indeed teased next month at Samsung’s developer conference, Bloomberg notes, but the phone itself won’t be shown. Instead, the chief of Samsung’s mobile division, DJ Koh, will be joined on stage by a team of engineers that will present “a detailed conceptual image of the phone, its features and user interface.”
The foldable device is codenamed Winner, the report says, and has been in development for years. Samsung has been debating between two prototypes, including one that’s longer horizontally when unfolded and one longer vertically. Both devices open from side to side, but the landscape version “has fallen out of favor recently with designers who see the portrait type as easier to hold with one hand even though its display may feel narrower when opened.”
When folded, the device will show a 4-inch screen on the outside, which would let the user access various features. The display opens “with a snap” like the Motorola Razr used to, but “with a smoother feel.”
The screen is coated with a film that makes it seem a bit plasticky, which has Samsung concerned because it may not be as glossy as consumers expect. Furthermore, the screen won’t have a built-in fingerprint sensor like the Galaxy S10 due to technical difficulties.
The report also notes that the phone recently passed internal tests of folding more than 200,000 times, which is the threshold for durability. But that doesn’t mean the screen its easy to manufacture. That’s the part of Bloomberg’s story that says “when it cracks, [the screen] shatters like dried paper.” That’s not to say the screen will be as fragile when placed under protective film in the Galaxy F, just that it may be challenging to mass-produce.
Samsung is also toying with the idea of reducing the size of the battery to make the device lighter. As it is right now, the prototype weighs more than 200 grams because it’s so much larger overall than other smartphones.
Bloomberg delivers one more exciting detail about the phone about the primary reason why one would worry about foldable Android phones: the user experience. Samsung and Google have been working on developing a special version of Android “whose final user interface will depend largely on which of the two designs is chosen.”
Finally, the report notes that Samsung may not launch the phone commercially until the second quarter of 2019, not that we expected it to arrive sooner than that.