WSJ: Foldable Samsung phone arrives early 2019 with a 7-inch screen that folds in half

WSJ: Foldable Samsung phone arrives early 2019 with a 7-inch screen that folds in half
How high is Samsung on the foldable phone it will unveil early next year? According to a report in today's Wall Street Journal, the manufacturer has blessed the device with the codename "Winner." That move is either an example of confidence, or wishful thinking on the part of Samsung. The long rumored device has been dubbed the Samsung Galaxy X by us media types, and could be unwrapped as soon as next January's CES in Las Vegas.

The Journal does pass along some rumored specs; the folding screen measures 7-inches and takes up nearly the whole device when fully open in a tablet-like mode. The display can be folded in half, according to the paper's unnamed sources, similar to the way that a wallet is folded. In that position, there is a "small display bar" found on one side of the unit, with cameras found on the other side. The design sounds similar to images from a new Samsung patent that we showed you yesterday.

The foldable Samsung handset, unlike other attempts at such a device, will use one screen that actually bends. The ZTE Axon M does fold, but is made up of two displays connected by a hinge. The technology involved, and the use of a large interior screen and a smaller one on the exterior, have analysts expecting the unit to be priced at $1,500 or more. Samsung expects to earn sales from first adapters, gamers, and those inspired to buy the unit due to the novelty of the design. Some have expressed a concern about the size of the batteries that would be required to power such a product, and there is a fear about the phone overheating. Back in 2016, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was recalled twice and finally taken off the market after several units overheated and exploded due to problems with the batteries used by Samsung.

Samsung is expected to release a small number of foldable units early next year to gauge the demand for the product. If all goes well, full production of the phone could be ordered for the second half of 2019. The device is a top priority for the company in light of recent data that shows a decline of as much as 20% between sales of this year's Galaxy S9 flagship line and last year's Galaxy S8 models.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that the Bixby-powered Samsung smart speaker will be unveiled on August 9th, at the same time as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Expected to be priced at $300, the device is said to be shaped like a bowl with legs. Featuring lights on top, the product will be promoted as a high-end music player. While undercutting the price of the Apple HomePod, it is priced at a premium to most of Amazon's Echo models.

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