The Galaxy folds. At last, Samsung didn't

Samsung's Unpacked event was less a dramatic reveal than a desperate statement of intent.

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Folding Different.

Samsung

You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.

You've also got to know when you've sold 'em. And Samsung did everything it could to sell the world on a renewed vision at Wednesday's Unpacked event.

The last couple of years, Samsung has unpacked its events and the gifts were meager.

Hey, here's a phone that looks like last year's!

Look, here's a phone we promise won't explode!

CNET: Samsung's phone-tablet hybrid is the most exciting phone we've seen in years

Wednesday's Unpacked was a little different. Not merely for the products Samsung presented, but for the sheer desperation of its management to show that the company has its own perspective on the future.

It was all personified by DJ Koh. The President and CEO of Samsung's IT & Mobile Communications Division insisted this presentation didn't represent the end of a decade, but the beginning of a new one.

Then he insisted again.

Honestly, he went on bit. Behind it, though, was a visceral desperation for the world to believe that Samsung hadn't folded and had genuinely innovated.

The Galaxy Fold, even if the one presented still looked like a working model, was at least something positively new.

Whether it's positively useful is, of course, something that will torture pragmatists.

Those happy to spend $2000 on a gadget tend to direct their pragmatism toward other areas of their lives.

They'll take one look at this thing, count the days to April 26, and want to be one of the first people to be seen with it.

I remember being at CES in 2012 -- ah, those wistful years of abandon -- and coming across a Samsung Galaxy Note. Though many laughed at it at the time, it made some sense to me. Emotional sense, you understand.

It was the only phone I returned to, even if I wasn't sure what I might want to do with it.

The Fold may have the same effect on people. It's not as if it won't be able to do what most phones and tablets do now.

But, as humans grab gadgets, they can sometimes find revolutionary new and constant ways to use them. Why, I remember the times Steve Jobs was so against tablets because he couldn't think of any other use for them than sitting on the toilet.

For Samsung, though, the Fold is a far bigger thing. It's a statement of new, different and take-that-Cupertino-you-arrogant-slickers.

It's also a statement to Samsung's own employees that the company hasn't permanently dropped into the drab.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Fold, S10, S10 Plus and S10e: A cheat sheet TechRepublic 

Everything about the event dripped of an attempt to seem in some way exciting.

Of course, all this meant it was hard for the S10 to look anything other than the attractive friend you've brought to the party because their lover just dumped them.

Not that the S10 didn't have its alluring features, you understand. I've always wanted to give my friends a little charge when they most need it.

The smartphone business is hard right now. It may be that neither Samsung nor Apple can halt the dive.

But at least Samsung proved there could be something new. We all live in hope, after all.

CNET: Mate X: Huawei's $2,600 foldable phone steps up to Galaxy Fold with three screens, four rear cameras, 5G