Samsung’s first Galaxy Fold didn’t quite have the smooth release Samsung would have hoped for. The screen cracking issues were resolved with some design changes, but it looks like Samsung is going to take a different approach to its next Galaxy Fold if recently-leaked photos are anything to go by.
Leaked photos posted by reputable smartphone leaker Ice Universe have given us a glimpse at what may well be the next Samsung Galaxy Fold.
The photos, which were posted on Twitter yesterday, appear to show a vertically-folding smartphone with a foldable main screen and small clock/notification display on the front face. You can see the photos in the tweet below.
In Chinese social media, Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy Fold phone was leaked.
Source: @ 王 奔 宏 pic.twitter.com/f69FAbYGxX
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) December 19, 2019
As reported by The Verge, it’s not certain which smartphone company is behind the leaked design, or even whether it’s anything more than a well-done fake.
But regardless of who is behind the leaked prototype, it seems they’ve taken a leaf out of Motorola’s book. The vertical folding screen is very similar to the one seen on Motorola’s new Razr, which was unveiled earlier this year.
Hints pointing towards a vertically folding Galaxy Fold
Since early this year we’ve been hearing rumours that Samsung will be giving its next Galaxy Fold a vertically folding clamshell design.
Bloomberg reported back in March that Samsung was working on a clamshell folding smartphone, aiming for a public unveiling sometime late this year or early next year.
Given this prior context, it looks like the photos that were leaked yesterday may well be the real deal.
Both Motorola and Samsung must have seen some potential in the vertically folding clamshell design, and if it proves popular other manufacturers may well follow suit.
So, are we about to see the return of the clamshell smartphone?
Vertically folding screens vs. horizontally folding screens?
For anyone over a certain age, the sight of a vertically folding smartphone will immediately take them back to the era when clamshell phones were all the rage.
Back before touchscreens were little more than a gimmick, the clamshell design allowed phone manufacturers to pack a screen and keyboard into a small, neat package.
This small form factor is the main benefit of a vertically folding design, and it will certainly bring us the smallest full touchscreen smartphones we’ve seen in years.
But in an era where smartphones are often used to watch films and constantly need to be ready for use, a vertically folding smartphone, or even just a folding smartphone in general, will probably lose its appeal pretty quickly.
As we saw with the Galaxy Fold earlier this year, the folding smartphone design comes with a number of inherent design challenges.
However, as The Korea Herald has previously reported, it appears the next Galaxy Fold will be released with a significantly lower price tag of around $845 – under half the cost of the current Galaxy Fold.
If this is true, it looks like the vertically folding clamshell design may well be an affordable option for consumers looking to get themselves a folding smartphone.