Galaxy Fold: I want the specs, but no clue what to do with a $1,980 foldable phone

Samsung outlined the Galaxy Fold, a device that can do a bit of everything, but may struggle to find use cases. Either way it's interesting enough to warrant some gadget lust.

Samsung aims to popularize the foldable screen, but what will we do with it? Samsung has teased the future of smartphones "unfolding," but while the technology is interesting it's unclear whether the company can give us real use cases that'll make us want to part with our cash.

Samsung outlined the Galaxy Fold at its Unpacked powwow and it has elicited a few cheers at least until the $1,980 price tag was disclosed. The luxury device is impressive, but I'm haunted by a simple question: What the hell am I going to do with the Galaxy Fold to justify the $2,000 price tag ($1,980 is the starting price).

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This Galaxy Fold is clearly going to be a nice shot in the arm for the smartphone industry's margins and average selling prices. After all, somebody has to innovate somewhere for a device category that has flat lined.

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Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh held up the Galaxy Fold as the beginning of the next decade of the Galaxy line and a device that can jump start industry growth. "Buckle your seat belt. The future is about to begin," said Koh. Koh said that the company has sold more than 2 billion Galaxy phones to date. 

As for the big picture, the bet is that Samsung can innovate its way out of competition on the premium and low end of the market. Koh said Samsung has "created an all-new smartphone category."

The details via Justin Denison, product executive for Samsung:

  • When folded it has a 4.6 inch displa and when it opens up it has 7.3-inch display that transforms into a tablet. 
  • Each side of the device has a battery.
  • There's a hinge system between the two screens that work together. 
  • The device will run you $1,980 with availbility April 26. 
  • 512GB of storage. 
  • Universal Flash Storage 3.0 (eUFS). 
  • "State-of-the-art 7nm processor and 12GB of RAM." Specifically, 7nm 64-bit Octa-core processor.
  • Samsung's "next-generation AP chipset and 12GB of RAM" aims for PC-like performance. 
  • App continuity--an effort between Samsung and Google--to optimize apps for the Galaxy Fold. 
  • The Galaxy Fold is coming in Cosmos Black, Space Silver, Martian Green, or Astro Blue.
  • There are 4G and 5G versions. 
  • Main display: 7.3 QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED (4.2:3) Cover display: 4.6" HD+ Super AMOLED (21:9)

More specs include:

Cameras: 

  • Cover camera: 10MP Selfie Camera, F2.2
  • Rear triple camera: 16MP Ultra Wide Camera, F2.2; 12MP Wide-angle Camera, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, F1.5/F2.4; 12MP Telephoto Camera, PDAF, OIS, F2.4, 2X optical zoom;
  • Front dual camera: 10MP Selfie Camera, F2.2, 8MP RGB Depth Camera, F1.9


Battery:

  • 4,380mAh (typical);
  • Fast Charging compatible on wired and wireless; 
  • Wired charging compatible with QC2.0 and AFC; 
  • Wireless charging compatible with WPC and PMA
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For Samsung, the Fold represents a moment to show off the company's innovation. But here's the catch. Samsung isn't that great at telling me what I should do with their cool innovation. The company didn't give me a lot of use case ideas at Unpacked either.

In theory, this use case conundrum should be sorted out by developers and consumers. It doesn't quite play out that way with Samsung though. Samsung will wow us, but we know there's a price for foldable glory. This premium device won't come cheap so there has to be some must-have function that goes well beyond the smartphone.

Now take this rant with a bit of salt. I mocked phablets back in the day too. Now I have one. Today, I'll chuckle at a 7.3-inch screen smartphone too--and then ponder buying one. I want one, but have no idea why--yet. Perhaps it's a phone, tablet and PC replacement.

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Also: Samsung Galaxy S10: Everything we expect | Samsung begins taking Galaxy S10 reservations, will arrive by March 8 | Samsung leaks Galaxy S10 model names | Samsung teases upcoming foldable Galaxy phone announcement in new video | Galaxy S10 rumor roundup: Feb. 20 launch, March 8 ship date, specs, features and price

Maybe it'll be the ability to use DeX and have a laptop on the fly. Maybe I'll be able to go dual screen just so my work life is as cluttered on mobile as it is on the desktop. Maybe there's some collaboration big bang that makes a foldable phone enticing. Or perhaps the footprint of the device is actually smaller. Perhaps businesses will find a great use case for a foldable phone.

Also: Samsung will call its foldable phone what? Apple wouldn't do that

For now, I wait to see what this contraption actually does. Samsung has done enough to make me interested. 

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