It's official: Samsung is making its third foldable phone, as well as the next Galaxy Note. Industry watchers expect this to be the Galaxy Fold 2, the successor device to the original Galaxy Fold rather than a rushed update to the smaller, cheaper Galaxy Z Flip, which is barely three months old.The news wasn't so much announced as slyly revealed in an earnings report earlier this month that otherwise spelled out doom and gloom for Samsung's business as a result of coronavirus-related slowdowns.
In Samsung's own words: "The Company will continue to offer differentiated products in the premium segment with the launch of new foldable and Note models." But will the world's largest phonemaker also release a cheaper version in the Galaxy Fold E? (More details below.)
Samsung's confirmation comes as phone sales plunged by 38% in February compared to 2019, and a major recession looms. The very extravagance of another pricy foldable phone could raise eyebrows at a time when companies, including Samsung, seem to be falling back on cheaper devices, like the new $400 Galaxy A51 on sale now, an excellent value.
But apart from folding, what do we know about the speculated Galaxy Fold 2? We'll update these this frequently with the most important rumors.
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Galaxy Fold 2 design: Same form, but better
It's likely that the Galaxy Fold 2 would work off the original mold, nipping, tucking and refining along the way. Common logic would expect the same design that puts the larger folding screen on the inside of a device that opens like a book, and the sturdier, smaller screen on the outside "cover," a shape that protects the inner screen from extra damage.
Some of the earliest Galaxy Fold 2 rumors suggested that the phone could take on a new form with the larger screen on the outside, however, most rumors point to the Fold 2 looking more like the first Fold, with specs and cosmetic features that line up with the Galaxy S20. More on that below.
The Galaxy Fold 2 could have a stylus. The original couldn't
Nearly a year ago I proposed that the Galaxy Fold's killer accessory would be a stylus, just like on the Galaxy Note family. The S Pen would make the Fold much more like a tablet and multitasking tool, and help distinguish Samsung's foldable phone from the rest.
There was just one problem with that. The original Fold's plastic screen was too soft and infamously damage-prone to sustain the pressure from a fingernail, much less a stylus. But with enough structural support and a flexible glass screen (ultrathin glass, or UTG) — which was first used with the Z Flip — the rumors of a Fold 2 with a stylus are possible.
Other rumors have at times suggested that Samsung would abandon its plans to include the S Pen. We'll see how it all comes together.
Is there a cheaper Galaxy Fold E or Fold Lite in the works?
What if there isn't just one new Galaxy Fold headed our way, but two or even three? Prolific mobile leaker Max Weinbach, who also writes for XDA Developers, tweeted a rumor that Samsung could be making a Galaxy Fold E or Galaxy Fold Lite in addition to the more premium Galaxy Fold 2.
Weinbach's tweet even named a potential price: $1,100 for the cheaper model — or models — which could use a plastic screen compared to the Galaxy Fold 2's ultrathin glass, or UTG. Weinbach's uncertainty ("and keep in mind this is a rumor," he wrote) leaves room for doubt, but it does suggest that Samsung's experiment with cheaper models won't stop with the $1,380 Galaxy Z Flip.
Two screens, one with a 120Hz refresh rate
There's little doubt that the Galaxy Fold 2 would follow in the footsteps of the original with two screens — one on the outside to start short tasks, like launching a phone call or responding to a quick text, and the larger screen inside that does all the heavy lifting of video watching, multitasking and longer email composition.
The larger screen is said to follow the Galaxy S20 with a 120Hz screen refresh rate, while the smaller screen will top out at the default 60Hz screen (see below). The faster refresh rate makes scrolling, navigation and some games run extremely smooth, but it can also drink up battery life at a faster rate. It's likely that the Fold 2's 120Hz screen setting would be an option, with the typical 60Hz rate the default, as it is on the S20 phones.
Galaxy Fold 2 cameras
The original Galaxy Fold took its camera cues from last year's Galaxy S10 Plus, so it stands to reason that the Fold 2 would do the same, drawing from the Galaxy S20 Plus' camera array and design. That's the content of a rumor from Max Weinbach, a Twitter leaker and contributor to XDA Developers.
If true, you could expect to see:
- Front cover: 10-megapixel camera
- Rear cover: 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), time-of-flight
And what about the inner screen? Good question. The original Fold included a big thumb-shaped cutout that included two camera lenses and other sensors, and detracted from the overall look as well as took up screen space. I'd wager that Samsung will minimize the camera look on the inner screen, possibly shrinking the space down to a single sensor for selfies and video chats, and using a more minimalist hole punch design.
Weinbach, in his February tweet, suggested that the "main" camera could include a V-shaped notch or an underscreen sensor.
Battery size and battery life
Battery life is a sticking point for any phone, but on a foldable device like the original Galaxy Fold, with power-thirsty screens and a promise to be the everything-device in your life, it has to deliver.
If rumor prevails, the Galaxy Fold 2 could top the Fold's 4,380-mAh battery with a 4,500- or 5,000-mAh battery, according to a source cited by XDA Developers. You can also expect Samsung to stick with reverse wireless charging, which Samsung calls PowerShare, and fast charging to align with the Galaxy S20 phones — likely at a rate of 25 watts.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra, for example, supports even faster 45-watt charging, but keep in mind that there's often a trade off between how fast a phone can charge and how much heat it generates and holds onto as a result. If the Fold 2 comes to life without support for 45-watt fast charging, that's likely why.
Galaxy Fold redesign: Here's how Samsung fixed its foldable phone
Screen size, 5G, storage and other specs
Display consultant Ross Young tweeted a long list of specs in late April, unsurprisingly related to the screen size, resolution and technology. That, combined with other rumors circulating about the Galaxy Fold 2's storage capacity, 5G variants and colors (from XDA Developers, SamMobile, ET News and others), paints a picture that concept artists can use to sketch out renders of how the Galaxy Fold 2 could look.
- Main display: 7.59 inches; 2,213×1,689-pixel resolution
- Cover display: 6.23 inches; 2,267×819-pixel resolution (original Fold outer screen was 4.6-inches)
- 256GB and 512GB storage capacities
- 5G and 4G variants
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 or 865 Plus processor
- Android 10 software
- Materials: Ceramic, stainless steel
- Colors: Blue, silver, gold, pink, black
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Galaxy Fold 2 launch and release date
For the launch of Samsung's third foldable phone, it makes sense to look to the first two. The Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Flip were announced alongside more typical — and still premium — devices, the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S20, respectively. Now it's suggested that the Galaxy Fold 2 will step into the spotlight at the same time Samsung announces the Galaxy Note 20.
There's a logical pattern to this rumor, although the circumstances of the reveal would certainly be different than most. Samsung's Galaxy S20 Unpacked event was the last time the mobile industry congregated in full before concern over the spread of coronavirus put a stop to dozens of events within and beyond the tech world.
It's certainly possible that Samsung could postpone both unveilings in response to the coronavirus outbreak, say if factories are forced to close amidst a surge of new cases or economic woes hem in consumer spending on high-priced goods.
Galaxy Fold 2 sale price
As for the price? There's no consensus among leakers yet, but you can bet that a smaller storage configuration that runs on 4G would cost less than a 5G version with more on-board storage space. It'd be surprising to see a more advanced Galaxy Fold 2 come in at less than the original Galaxy Fold's $1,980 asking price, though with a global recession in the offing, all things are possible.
Trade-in deals, bundles and freebies are more likely than an immediate reduction in cost. Although Samsung has been known to cut prices a few months after a launch, at least on its own website (like this Galaxy S20 price drop), the brand usually prefers to bump up the value of its premium products with bundled deals instead, like a buy-one-get-one or a free set of earbuds.
We'll keep an eye and an ear out for new and credible Galaxy Fold 2 rumors. In the meantime, here's every phone that we know of for 2020, eight apps to vastly improve your phone photography and a good look at the OnePlus 8 Pro phone that wants to take down the Galaxy S20.