Samsung's W2018 flip phone that the company announced on Friday was certified by the United States Federal Communications Commission earlier this week, as evidenced by a set of documentation recently published by the agency. The handset that passed through the FCC carries the model number R38J906NX2E that's believed to be attached to its Chinese model, currently the only one whose existence has been officially confirmed by Samsung. Several screenshots of the device provided to the FCC confirmed it's running some version of Android Nougat, with the Chinese unit of the company later clarifying that is ships with Samsung Experience based on Android 7.1.1.
The South Korean original equipment manufacturer occasionally submits smartphones to the FCC for certification even if it doesn't intend on launching them in the U.S. and this appears to be one such case; none of the company's Android-powered flip phones ever had a stateside release and they usually wouldn't even make their way out of China, having only rarely been made available in Samsung's home country in extremely limited quantities. That product strategy is expected to continue in the future as the OEM seemingly has little incentive to try to bring the W2018 to the largest flagship market in the world that's also the most difficult to break into with unconventional products. The W2018 itself isn't part of Samsung's Galaxy brand but a standalone offering with premium specs packed into a traditional flip phone design. The handset ships with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 SoC, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and a 12-megapixel rear camera mounted behind a lens with an aperture of f/1.5 that just took the title of the brightest mobile glass in the industry after being unveiled earlier today. The front-facing camera of the W2018 is a 5-megapixel affair and the smartphone also sports a microSD card slot, Samsung said.
Interest from China is the only reason why Samsung is still making flip phones, even though the company's market share in the Far Eastern country fell from 20 to 2 percent in the last half a decade, according to some industry trackers. Samsung's next unconventional smartphone is expected to be unveiled in early 2018 when the company is said to be launching the Galaxy X, its first truly foldable Android handset.