Samsung’s next foldable phone: Rumors and leaks we know about the Motorola Razr rival

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We know that Samsung is thinking about a foldable phone like this.


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Love it or hate it, the Galaxy Fold was one of the most memorable phones of 2019. Samsung’s foldable phone was the first from any major brand, with a 7.3-inch screen that bends in half to open like a book. Samsung’s second foldable device will be completely different.

For its second act, rumors and chatter depict a vertically folding phone that looks like a modern flip phone. This would be Samsung’s take on the rebooted Motorola Razr. What’s more, Samsung confirmed the design itself in a tease at its annual developer conference this October.

Another foldable phone will give Samsung an opportunity to once again steer the phone world’s most provocative conversation. After only three significant devices in 2019, foldable phones still teeter on the edge of futuristic fancy and reality.

Done right, they could double your usable screen space while still closing into a small enough rectangle to carry around. Done poorly, these expensive science experiments could confirm that ever-larger phones are the right way to make a phone.





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Samsung’s second attempt at a foldable phone could also help it hammer out problems that befell the Galaxy Fold’s original design — pitfalls that damaged the screen and caused Samsung to delay and redesign its phone. The Fold sold four months after its first intended launch date of April 26, 2019. A more compact design could also help Samsung reach more actual buyers by selling the phone for less.

Yes, Samsung’s next foldable phone will be interesting and important, and we have questions. What will it be called and what do we know about its screen? It will have a radically different shape from 2019’s Galaxy Fold, but how about the rest of its design? What can Samsung do to improve on the original Fold?

Read on for everything we know and don’t know, and what we think could be.

Confirmed: Samsung is working on a foldable ‘flip’ phone that bends vertically

Samsung hinted at a vertically folding phone, sometimes referred to as a flip phone or clamshell, since the Galaxy Fold announcement nearly a year ago. Then the company went a step further. It showed off a mock-up of the foldable design in question.

The most interesting part was the surprise nature of it. Unlike with its Galaxy Fold, Samsung didn’t pull out the mockup for the audience to photograph. It didn’t even mention the device explicitly. Samsung showed off the foldable flipper while talking about its One UI 2 interface (which is out now in beta).

The clamshell foldable phone probably isn’t the Fold 2

It’s tempting to call this unnamed phone the Fold 2, just because it’ll be the next foldable device to follow the Fold 1. The Korea Herald reports that there will be a Galaxy Fold successor (the Fold 2?) in August.

Even without that rumor, it’s clear that Samsung wouldn’t want to make a foldable flip phone part of the Fold family, not when the Galaxy Fold represents a luxury device with an enormous screen and this foldable clamshell phone will have a much narrower display.

We don’t have inklings of those screen dimensions yet, but the Motorola Razr unfolds into a tall, slim 6.2-inch display, so we can use that as a template for now. Remember that screen dimensions are measured at the diagonal, but they don’t tell the whole story. The Razr’s usable screen space feels a lot smaller than the Galaxy Fold, and minute compared to the 8-inch Huawei Mate X.

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During its annual developer conference in October, Samsung discussed two ways a phone could fold.


James Martin/CNET

Two cameras on the back and one inside

The Galaxy Fold has a total of six cameras: two on the outer “cover” display, two on the inside for video chats and selfies and three on the back. Samsung’s next foldable could cut the total camera share in half, following a supposed leak from frequent phone leaker Ice Universe (originally from Chinese social media platform Weibo).

We see some pixelated images with a clear central hole-punch camera on the phone’s foldable screen, and two cameras on the front cover of the phone. These would take selfies when the phone is closed, and also serve as your main camera when it’s open.

Will it fold into a rectangle or a square?

Not to state the obvious, but all squares are technically rectangles. However, there is a rumor that the foldable Samsung flip phone could pack down into a square, according to Bloomberg.

A decade ago, square flip phones were big. The Motorola Flipout (2010) was a true square, measuring 2.6 inches tall and wide. The Samsung Gloss (2009) and LG Lotus Elite (2010) also helped propel the trend.

It’d be interesting to see a square phone resurgence with foldable screens, but I’d guess that’d be reserved for the least expensive devices, while large-screen foldables retain much higher prices and tablet-size displays.

Smaller screen crease could help fix Galaxy Fold annoyance

Before all its screen damage overtook headlines, the biggest concern lobbed at the Galaxy Fold was about the center crease where the phone folds in half. Would it ruin the experience, how bad would it look, would it worsen over time?

One of the advantages of a vertical fold like the Motorola Razr is that the part where the screen creases is much smaller than on the Fold. There’s just less screen width to bend with this design.





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Can it avoid the Galaxy Fold’s fatal screen flaws?

One thing that isn’t clear in the leaked photos is what kind of design enhancements Samsung has made to sidestep the Fold’s design flaws.

For its second attempt at the Galaxy Fold (the design that eventually went on sale), Samsung used plastic end-caps to shrink a gap that could let in dust and debris. It also reinforced internal support for the delicate plastic display, among a few other fixes.

We’ll still need to keep a close eye on this unnamed foldable phone’s screen and hinge to see if there are any potential gaps.

Feb. 11 or 18 launch date, same as the Galaxy S11?

Samsung’s next flagship phone, the Galaxy S11, is rumored to launch either Feb. 11 or Feb. 18, in New York. In 2019, Samsung paired the Galaxy S10 reveal with the Galaxy Fold announcement, saving the foldable phone for last.

In one sense, the move was unusual because it meant that Samsung had to overshadow its own premiere phone, which became instantly mundane the second the Fold appeared on stage.

On a practical level, the joint unveiling also made a lot of financial and logistical sense. It still does. It’s far easier to plan one blowout launch event than two.

There’s a good chance we’ll see the foldable phone announced alongside the Galaxy S11. But if we don’t, Samsung has another opportunity days later at Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s largest mobile show.

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The Galaxy S11 is said to go on sale Feb. 11 or 18, shortly before a major mobile conference in Spain.


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No headphone jack is likely, so are Android 10 and One UI 2

Samsung officially ditched the headphone jack. The Note 10 phones didn’t have them at all, and neither does the Galaxy Fold. There is, however, a USB-C charger port. It’s also all-but-guaranteed to work with Android 10 and Samsung’s One UI 2 software layer that rides on top of the Android OS.

Foldable flip phone price: Between $800 and $2,000

Industry-watchers agree that foldable clamshell phones are one of the best ways to make these phones cheaper, and therefore more likely for regular people to buy, not just those with $2,000 laying around.

The Korea Herald reports that Samsung’s foldable flipper could cost $850, according to its sources. By comparison, the Motorola Razr costs $1,500, and Samsung isn’t usually one to undercut the competition when it can back up its price with quality features and materials.

That said, there is at least one more suggestion that foldable phone prices could come closer to Earth. In early December, a $350 foldable phone called the Escobar Fold 1 was revealed by the brother of Pablo Escobar, the late drug kingpin. We know very little about that device, but it appears to closely resemble the Royole FlexPai, the first foldable phone, which we saw a year ago.





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What we don’t know about Samsung’s next foldable phone

  • What kind of hinge it has, and therefore what kind of air gap when you close the phone shut
  • Battery design and rated battery life — two separate battery cells like in the Fold?
  • If there’s any waterproofing
  • If it will have 5G globally or only in some countries
  • Processor, memory, camera specs

This is just the beginning of the rumors and leaks for this device. Keep checking back for more details as they surface. In the meantime, brush up on all your Galaxy S11 rumors and leaks.



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