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Foldable Smartphones Coming Soon

Remember when bending Smartphones were a serious problem? Coming soon next year is a device that looks to make that problem a full-on flagship feature.

A few years ago, Samsung quietly announced far-off plans to construct a folding smartphone. But the announcement was so vague and far off into the future that it didn’t stick very well, and in the years following, many forgot the project existed. That is, until now, when they’ve emerged with a real, functioning prototype, now being called the Galaxy X. That’s right, this thing folds. Both ways. Seamlessly. Like it’s made of some kind of rubber. It’s pretty weird. But it’s also very cool.

But this folding feature brings more than a few laughs and a cheap party trick – it also means that Samsung’s new device has the ability to fulfill both the roles that smart devices have been straddling between for the past decade. This device will start out as small as a mobile phone, but holds the potential to fold out as large as a tablet for extended use. It’s the two-in-one feature piece that bridges the gap between the portable and the workable, but there’s one gap it doesn’t bridge: Affordable.

You thought Apple’s iPhone X was going overboard with a $1,000 pricetag? Samsung says hello, and it’s saying that via the Galaxy X, available for the low low price of $1,850. This pricetag was confirmed by the head of research at Golden Bridge Investment, Kim Jang-yeol. While Jang-yeol’s price reveal was done in the eastern market, making $1,850 technically a converted price and not official of the device’s final price in western markets, the device won’t be seeing an $850 price reduction for the United States. Best-Case scenario, users can hope to pick this phone up for $1,800 when it supposedly drops in the west early next year.

Jang-yeol went on to share more specifications on the shape and size of the device, and was the first to officially confirm rampant rumors of the phone’s foldable nature. He goes on to state that the full, unfolded device will total in at 7.3″ of screen, which is a lot of screen. While not quite the size of a full-on tablet, it matches up well with Apple’s iPad Mini, coming up short by only 0.6 inches. That’s a lot of phone, and also a good bit of tablet. It’s certainly a promise to deliver bang for buck, even when asking for an unprecedented amount of buck.

And if recent reports hold true, Apple isn’t content to let Samsung take all the glory. Apple has made a successful business practice of being the second company to launch on the big new feature, as Android phones were using “3D Touch” and fingerprint scanners far before Apple adopted these technologies. They’ve done so not simply by copying the work of others, but by re-branding it and making it more useful and accessible to the average user. Even if Apple’s folding phone – possibly the iPhone 11 – won’t launch until somewhere around 2020, it’s sure to find some new uses for this folding tech when it does.

But when one thinks of a folding phone, there’s quite a few issues that come to mind. For one, although this new device hopes to bridge the gap between smartphones and tablets,  it still is as big – and probably as heavy – as a tablet. The heftier weight might make its phone form a little less attractive. Another concern comes with the device’s age. After many folds, will the tablet still stand as straight as it first did, or will it begin to adopt a half-bend that hinders typing on a tablet-sized device. Last but not least, how will this new cutting-edge of smartphone tech take the plunge? Or the drop? Or any kind of possible damage at all? Will increased flexibility help it absorb impacts more cleanly, or will the delicate, softer electronics crumple during harsh impacts?

Hopefully, Samsung will answer all these questions and more before the Galaxy X hits the U.S. sometime next year.

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