Samsung's foldable Galaxy X smartphone could launch in early 2019

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Next year, Samsung hopes you'll spend thousands of dollars on its new, cutting-edge foldable phone. 

Samsung's Galaxy X smartphone, codenamed 'Winner', is a fully bendable and foldable device that, when flat, will be the size of a small tablet, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The device will launch in early 2019, its sources say. This aligns with previous reports suggesting that Samsung hoped to launch the device during Mobile World Congress in February. 

The Galaxy X will reportedly measure seven inches diagonally when flat; for comparison, the iPad Mini 4 tablet measures 7.9 inches diagonally. To fit in your pocket, Samsung's phone will fold in half “like a wallet”. 

One side of the smartphone will have the primary display , while the back of the device would also feature a secondary 'display bar' on one folded side and cameras on the other side. 

Samsung patents and renderings have long pointed to a foldable phone in the works:

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In one 2017 patent, Samsung detailed a foldable display that would hinge like a flip phone. In another patent, Samsung showed how the home interface would automatically spread across two screens when the phone is folded. 

The Wall Street Journal’s sources appear to confirm that both of these designs could easily feature in the final product. 

Samsung hopes to target the smartphone to a more hardcore demographic of gamers, the report says, before trying to reach a wider audience later in 2019. However, the rumored price of the smartphone could drive away casual buyers. 

Samsung reportedly wants you to pay more than $1,500 (about £1,150 / AU$2,000) for the device. Neither the Galaxy Note 8 nor the Galaxy S9 Plus come close to this price tag. 

In the same report, the Wall Street Journal also claimed that Samsung's Bixby speaker would be officially announced this August, during the Samsung Unpacked event in New York City.  

A foldable smartphone revolution?

Considering the Galaxy X’s similarities to the foldable (but not bendable) Nintendo 3DS, the split display could certainly appeal as a gaming platform. But the 3DS costs a couple hundred bucks/pounds, and Nintendo specializes in gaming. 

We’ll have to wait and see if enough developers buy into Samsung’s foldable platform and make games specialized for two phone screens instead of one. 

Right now, only one foldable smartphone is on the market: the ZTE Axon M, which has a hinge, but not a bendable display. However, other major tech companies are racing to catch up with Samsung and release their own bendable smartphones. 

Huawei may actually outpace Samsung to launch its own foldable flagship device. The latest rumors suggest Huawei will showcase its still-unnamed flexible phone in November, and will aim for an early 2019 launch. Its device may employ LG’s flexible screen tech

Other major firms, on the other hand, look more likely to sell foldable devices by 2020 or later. 

Apple has patented its own foldable displays, but a top analyst believes Apple is targeting a 2020 launch for such a device. Sony and Lenovo, meanwhile, have dropped hints about foldable screens, but we have no patents or insider reports to suggest those will launch anytime soon.