Four real-life images depicting what’s said to be Samsung’s prototype of a foldable Android smartphone appeared online earlier today, having been shared by one known industry insider from China. The photographs that can be seen below show a device that’s somewhat akin to the ZTE Axon M, a 2017 product which the handset maker advertised as the world’s first contemporary mobile device that folds in half but was effectively just a combination of two screens connected via a hinge.
The software running on the Samsung-made prototype that appears to be bearing the model number SM-G929F is indicative of the phone being much older than the Axon M, with its user interface having the appearance of the company implementations of Android Marshmallow, i.e. TouchWiz 6.X, which were pre-installed on the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, the discontinued Galaxy Note 7, and most other Samsung handsets released over the course of 2016. That’s most evident on the look of app icons which are squircle-shaped and not rectangular like those found on all of the firm’s 2015 products save for the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. The source claims that the foldable device was internally referenced as “Project V,” though it remains unclear when exactly Samsung canceled it.
The South Korean manufacturer recently confirmed it’s working on commercializing a somewhat bendable handset in the near future and while it’s still avoiding committing to any particular launch windows, recent reports indicate such an Android device may be introduced and released in the first half of 2019, possibly advertised as the Galaxy X. The device is likely to sport an extremely high price tag and be produced in limited quantities, both due to problematic yield rates and the fact that Samsung is only looking to test the market response to a new cellphone form factor. Huawei is also said to be preparing its own foldable offering and may release it as early as this year, industry insiders claimed several weeks back.