Samsung may be ready to change the tone of the mobile industry yet again with rumors and speculation swirling around a new smartphone currently known as the Samsung Galaxy X. It is a handset that has been making the rounds since very early in the year and what makes the device interesting is that it is rumored to be a foldable smartphone. Which could, in effect, make the Galaxy X a real game-changer if Samsung can overcome the current obstacles standing in its way and bring the full weight of its influence to bear. Meanwhile, although most in the industry have not been pushing towards similar technologies, there are one or two companies Samsung will need to contend with who could deliver similar features to the market at around the same time.
Samsung has, to begin with, spent years creating both the manufacturing processes and the technology it will be putting into its Galaxy X line-up. That gives it a reasonable head start over its competition in the premium smartphone space. At the moment, the biggest threats to its top-tier smartphone dominance come from Apple, LG, and to some extent, Google. However, none of those companies are currently known to have spent anywhere near as much time, if any, working on a foldable hybrid mobile platform, let alone the processes or materials required to fully realize such a device. Samsung's device is also expected to hit within that same upper portion of the market with current rumors suggesting that it will arrive in at least one market – likely the U.S. – with a Snapdragon 835 SoC on board, accompanied by other high-end components and specs. Other markets should see an equivalent or slightly more beefy set of specs thanks to the inclusion of a Samsung-built Exynos SoC – if the company's past releases are anything to go by.
With that in mind, the company is hardly the only one with a drive to create the folding smartphones of the future. ZTE seemingly has its own device in the works and its one that hinges on what could be the same technological advancements – unless Samsung has gone way outside of the box with its own device's flexibility. Granted, the ZTE Axon M is likely to be a more budget-friendly device compared to Samsung's, and, by proxy, won't be a direct competitor. However, what's important here is that Samsung is not the only major player in the mobile space looking at making folding or flexible smartphones a reality. Moreover, with the technology being completely new and relatively untested, it could turn out that not many people want to pay a premium to try out such a new form factor, especially when cheaper devices are available with similar features. What's more, the company has been losing some market share in some important world regions, such as India, which may indicate that the world is beginning to look beyond Samsung for new innovations. So the company's eventual sales and, following that, its influence could be undercut by a company that it isn't even trying to compete with. Despite this, Samsung has overcome some massive hurdles in the past, the company is also undergoing substantial corporate shuffling, following the resignation of its CEO and the incarceration of a prominent chairman. The shift could have a significant impact on the company, possibly even delaying its plans for the Galaxy X, or it could ultimately mean almost nothing to the company's bottom line. Which of those things ends up being truer than not is going to depend on how well its internal operations have been modularized to resist the likely negative effects which can be caused by major changes to leadership.
Samsung will be able to draw on experience gained through the generation of new user interactions in the past, such as with the creation of its relatively new 'Edge' displays and consistent improvements to its S-Pen. That's not to say that none of its rivals in the space have undertaken considerable efforts of their own in generating new user experiences. Unfortunately, for the competition at least, most of those efforts have been meant for devices with similar hardware to their previous releases or for use on devices with a form factor that was already well understood. Meanwhile, Samsung has already been creating new interactions to work alongside hardware changes that fundamentally shifted what was possible. Any new experiences created by Samsung will almost certainly be emulated to varying degrees when top-end smartphone manufacturers finally do begin to release their own folding or flexible smartphones.
It is also true that any competition brought to its Galaxy X is likely to be a boon for the entire industry, particularly if competing devices aren't in the same price bracket as Samsung's new foldable phone. That could easily serve to normalize the technology across the market and pressure other smartphone makers to get on board with their own offerings, which would logically lead to even further advancements. Eventually, the improvements made could lead to a convergence between smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets. The technology could also lend itself to even more extreme and unforeseeable changes, as is often the case with new technologies. Whether that actually happens and whether Samsung's efforts are enough to really alter the way users view smartphones is not for certain. However, if the whole thing holds together, the future of mobile devices could be in things that may seem a bit far-flung today, thanks, at least in part, to Samsung. All that remains to be seen is whether or not the Galaxy X or any of the other devices in question live up to all of the rumor-fueled hype.