Samsung W2019 Flip Phone Nearing Release, Will Run Android 8.1

In short: Samsung's next Android flip phone is nearing release, with the successor to last year's W2018 (pictured above) now being confirmed to be called the W2019, according to a Wi-Fi certificate reviewed by AndroidHeadlines. The document issued by the Wi-Fi Alliance reveals the device will be identified by the model number SM-W2019 and run Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, in addition to supporting the latest telecom solutions Samsung already implemented into the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9-series models sold in the United States, with the main implication of that fact being that the handset will be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chip which uses the Snapdragon X20 modem.

Background: Samsung started testing Android-based firmware intended for the W2019 in early September but the existence of the newly spotted certificate confirms the handset is close to being released. The South Korean tech giant traditionally launches new additions to its flip phone line in December and that's likely to be the case this year as well. Based on those same product practices, the W2019 is believed to be a China-exclusive device. Given how Samsung is already heavily involved in optimizing Google's Android 9 Pie for its handsets, the W2019 may end up being the last mobile offering from the company that ships with Android 8.1 Oreo. A report from earlier this summer suggested the W2019 is code-named "Project Lykan" and will feature a dual-camera setup on the back.

Impact: Despite the niche nature of Samsung's clamshell W series, these Android smartphones often served as a preview of the main selling points of the company's upcoming mainstream lines. E.g. last year's W2018 debuted a variable-aperture lens that ended up being an integral part of the camera experience offered by both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 ranges. Likewise, several previous members of the same product family were used for experimenting with the Always-On Display, a staple feature of contemporary Galaxy devices.

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