Forget all the bad headlines, the botched launch that was pushed back from April to September, the expensive price tag, those early screens that crapped out after a day of usage, and all the questions about who exactly would want to buy this. Samsung remains proud of its work creating the Galaxy Fold, its first foldable smartphone with a nearly $2,000 price tag and a form factor that the company believes so strongly in that it’s going pedal to the metal and planning to ship new models and variants of it come 2020.
Indeed, Samsung is so proud of its work on the phone that the company wants to take you on a little journey behind-the-scenes, offering up a look on Tuesday at just how it is that the company designed and brought to fruition what’s arguably the biggest smartphone mistake of 2019.
In a company blog post titled “From Concept to Creation,” we learn that the Galaxy Fold’s design team spent a period of analysis studying how various objects fold and unfold, the intricacies of that process, and how ordinary people perform those actions. “The design team worked closely with the engineering team in order to find the most convenient and aesthetically pleasing design for a folding device,” the post continues. “The team constructed over 1,000 prototypes using a wide array of materials, including foam board and various fabrics, and eventually settled on an in-folding design.”
The Fold’s large Infinity Flex Display, which measures 7.3 inches when fully unfolded, was also designed to be the optimal size for carrying it around in its folded state, this review of the design process adds. Also, an inward-folding setup was decided upon to help protect the display — which, when the phone costs $1,980, is the right concern from the outset, even though the phone’s durability still left something to be desired. Heck, one user’s model even had the letters in the Samsung logo on the device start falling off.
Meanwhile, the thinking from Samsung’s design folks was also that the six lenses across the Galaxy Fold would allow users to snap photos no matter how they’re holding the device.
“The Galaxy Fold’s slim and ergonomic design provides users with a comfortable grip,” the company’s post goes on. “The device’s size and ratio (have) been optimized for one or two-handed use, aligning with the unique capabilities of the Galaxy Fold, such as multitasking with Multi-Active Window. The front and back of the device, when folded (or, the entire back of the device when unfolded) have the same volume, shape, and dimensions, with even distribution of weight across the left and right sides of the device so it feels balanced and natural to hold.” Along those same lines, Samsung says it put the fingerprint scanner on the side of the phone so that it’s lined up with where the user’s thumb falls — meaning that unlocking the phone should feel pretty natural.
Again, one of the things to take away from all this is that as the smartphone market continues to mature, Samsung thinks one opportunity going forward might be found in weird and bizarre smartphone designs. We’ve covered many of those experiments from the company, the Fold behind the highest-profile example. And 2020 will almost certainly bring more releases from Samsung along these lines, including possibly a clamshell model as well as a straight-up successor to the Galaxy Fold itself.