In brief: Despite a price tag that's close to $2000, Samsung expects there will be plenty of people ready to buy its Galaxy Fold device when it arrives next month. But the company is facing competition in the form of rival Huawei’s Mate X, which many believe has a better design. Unsurprisingly, Samsung disagrees with this perception.
The Galaxy Fold uses a book-style form factor, whereby the phone opens up to expose the tablet on the inside. There’s also a single display on the outside that resembles a traditional handset. Huawei’s Mate X, on the other hand, uses an out-folding design that turns the single, 8-inch display into a smartphone. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, the Mate X folds completely flat, making it look much cleaner than Samsung’s device.
Speaking to the subscription-only Australian Financial Review, Samsung’s executive vice-president of R&D, Eui-suk Chung, thinks his company went down the right path with this design, which he says was the more difficult option.
“You open it like a book. You close it like a book. It’s much more natural than doing it the other way around, so we went for that even though it presents the harder technical challenge,” Chung said.
Chung acknowledged that the Galaxy Fold doesn’t close completely due to technology not allowing a screen to fold flat like paper, but he said it’s better than having the screen on the outside like the Mate X, which will likely be more prone to scratches and damage. He added that there’s more chance of “user error,” such as calling someone by mistake, with Huawei's foldable.
Last month, Huawei revealed that its original prototype of a folding phone used the same book-style design as Samsung, but the project was killed off because it was “not good.”
"I feel having two screens, a front screen and a back screen, makes the phone too heavy," said CEO of Huawei's mobile business, Richard Yu.
Several other companies (but not Apple) are working on foldable phones right now, and Samsung is reportedly set to unveil two more of the devices in the near future, one of which will use a clamshell design.