Samsung Galaxy Z Flip (Bloom) specs, price and release preview
Samsung's foldable phone strategy is getting clearer by the day, and it seems already set to mean one affordable midrange clamshell focused on portability to be released in the spring, followed by a one vertical-axis flagship like the Galaxy Fold and its successor Fold 2, in the second half of the years ahead.
Bloom since October, Samsung's spring 2020 clamshell and direct Motorola RAZR (2019) competitor is meant to be the most affordable, gateway phone for the world of bendy handsets and form factors of the future, as in "blooming" market share.Codenamed
Galaxy Fold. we should have seen the February 11 Unpacked event coming. After all, San Francisco is splashed right there in the clamshell foldable design concept's weather widget, for DJ Koh's sake!When the company issued the video above, depicting more ways to skin a bendy phone cat than the OG
Granted, recently Samsung's DJ Koh may have said that it is actually aimed at girls in their twenties hence styled like Lancome's iconic powder box, and a Bloom concept, with the budding wallpaper to match was shown at CES, but we'd rather go with the original explanation for the codename.
Just as expected, however, the name of the final retail device will neither be Fold 2, nor Bloom, but rather introduce the Flip moniker, or, more precisely, the Galaxy Z Flip. Thus, whatever recent have there been about the Fold 2 are in fact referencing the Z Flip. Save for the fall release, of course, as the Fold 2 may indeed be launched together with the Note 11.
So, what can we expect from Samsung's foldable Galaxy Z Flip that is about to be announced together with the Galaxy S20 trio on February 11? A great value-for-money ratio, that's what, at least referring to what bendy handsets have gone for so far. After all, the OG Fold is $1999 and the Mate X is $2499, while the Razr (2019) undercuts them to get to the still-unpleasant $1499.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip (Bloom) design and display
Remember those rumors that the Galaxy Fold successor will be a flip phone with a horizontal instead of a vertical crease? Well, despite the OG Fold hiccup, Samsung plans to release it according to schedule, but not under the Fold moniker, and under an entirely different Flip category in its portfolio. Makes perfect sense, as clamshell designs have simply been called flip phones for a good while before smartphones were even a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eyes.
The codename of that clamshell design is reportedly "Bloom," signifying plans for general expansion of the foldable phones' market share, as opposed to OG Fold's "Winner" moniker, as it was meant to bring people around the bendy phone camp in the first place.
Initial rumors pegged Samsung's 6.7" Galaxy Fold heir to bend around the horizontal axis, and have just a small 1" screen on the outside for date/time/notification icons. That's quite a clever and eventually cheaper to produce approach than the current Fold concept. With its next foldable phone effort, Samsung is reportedly gunning for portability instead of screen space, and it may look like what Concept Creator made for LetsGoDigital back when we thought it will be called the Fold 2 still.
Some of Samsung's phone execs have reportedly been deliberating over a larger screen, arguing (rightfully) that this is the whole point of foldable phones - to give you much more extra canvas to work on when unfurled than regular phones. Given the 6.5" iPhone 11 Pro Max is 6.8" Note 10+ we have now, a 6.7-incher won't have a "wow" factor when announced, no matter the screen aspect ratio used.
Ultimately, however, cooler heads have prevailed, and the Z Flip will reportedly ship with the original 6.7" display intention, rather than the 8" panel that has also been considered. Thus, the latest rumors peg it to be as big as a phone with a 3" display when folded, making it a godsend for pockets, palms, or purses, and Samsung has been filing patents with its eventual design for a good while now.
Oh, the display cover may also be made of glass. Wait, what? Yes, you read cover glass correct. Apparently, the recent trade spat with Japan that saw the island nation restrict rare exports to Korea because of misfortunate geopolitical events that happened decades ago, affected Samsung in three ways. It felt the pinch in OLED pixel material supplies, memory chip components, and the... cover film for the Galaxy Fold.
That last one is made by the Japanese from Sumitomo out of durable polyimide (PI) and has fallen under said trade restrictions. Comprising the top layer of the Galaxy Fold's flexible display package, it is actually an integral part of the screen. That wasn't quite clear on the preview units Samsung sent out, and some tried to peel it off, ruining the handset's display in the process.
While Samsung fixed the problem by extending the PI cover over the corners of the upgraded Fold, so as it doesn't look like a screen protector, it has apparently decided to move away of such films in the future, replacing them with... ultrathin glass cover.
Apparently, the notorious rigidity of a glass structure isn't as valid for glass that is 100 micrometer thin or less, and for the Z Flip, Samsung has wiggled its way into an exclusive long-term contract with a local manufacturer called DoInsys that can go down to 30 micrometer even. DoInsys just so happens to have developed an ultrathin tempered glass that can be applied to bendy handsets last year.
The so-called Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) is, needless to say, tougher than the "regular" polyimide protective film that the Galaxy Fold now uses. How can glass bend without breaking, though? Well, the key word is thin, apparently, as the DoInsys creation has proved surprisingly durable and the company, which planned to start mass production in 2020, has been getting better yields than planned, removing one more hurdle before Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip plans.
We can't wait to see the type of crease this would eventually create, as Motorola managed to avoid a glaring one on the Razr (2019) by making the hinge stretch the double PI film a bit when the phone is unfurled to literally iron the kink out. As for the cold, hard specs of the display and processor, here's the full scoop of what's leaked so far, and we'll be adding more as credible sources reveal additional details.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip (Bloom) leaked processor, camera and charging specs
The rest of the specs we can only muse about for now, but we'd wager to guess that they won't be less than what Samsung already has on its W2019 clamshell released last year, i.e. at least 6GB of RAM and 256GB of native storage. That one also has a dual (12MP + 12MP) camera setup.
Its primary shooter offers a variable aperture ranging from f/1.5-f/2.4. Other features include OIS, 2X optical zoom, 4K video at 60fps and 1080p slow motion video at 960fps. Keeping the lights on is a 3070mAh battery.
There is a fingerprint scanner on the side of the phone, too, and all of this could very well end up in the Z Flip clamshell with foldable display, and then some, like the rumored larger 3300mAh battery pack that will supposedly be in the Flip.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip (Bloom) price and release date
All eyes may be on the Galaxy S20 series for Samsung's February 11 Unpacked event, but what the company means by tipping "innovative devices that will shape the next decade of mobile experiences," won't be just the S-line phones about to be unveiled then.
Long story short, Samsung is prepping something along the RAZR 2019 vein, and we can only commend its efforts, as, let's face it, only a sliver of users want to lug around a pocket Bible of a phone with a visible crease in the middle that costs two grand to begin with. The eventual Galaxy Z Flip may turn our foldable display phones pricing notion on its head, too.
First, we heard that it may be arriving for the equivalent of about $857 in local Korean currency, which is a Benjamin shy of half-the-RAZR-price here in the US. That didn't stopping a larger share of our visitors to prefer the nostalgia-laden Moto razr (2019), though, as you can see from our poll results below.
Now, however, the rumored price in Korea has risen to 1.6 million won which roughly translates to $1373 at the time of writing, and is more in line with the Razr's pricing. If this tag materializes, it would put both flip handsets on a direct collision course here in the US. The Galaxy Z, however, seems to be tailored more to the female audience, what with the Lancome powder box inspiration and the stage opening that can set the display at any angle for selfies.
The original rumor was that the Z Flip "Bloom" will be released in April, but the February 11 Unpacked event where it will likely be announced is quite a long way off an April timeframe, so the Z Flip may be launched sooner than that, and still later than the S20 series, just as it happened with the OG Fold. The Galaxy S20 phones are last rumored to launch on March 13, so the Z could hit the shelves in March as well.
In any case, there may be a bit more than six months between the original Galaxy Fold release, and the Z Flip successor, but not because Samsung was planning on bi-annual bendable phone model refreshes in the first place, rather because the OG Fold was launched way later than planned. Color us excited for Samsung's clamshell, especially even if its initially rumored sub-$900 price doesn't materialize.