SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Wednesday said the release of a pricey folding smart phone in April that will work with the next generation of 5G networks and costs nearly $2,000.
A Samsung employee controls the new Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+ and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphones at a press event in London, great Britain February 20, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
The Galaxy Fold will go on sale on April 26, Samsung officials said during an event in San Francisco. The device will have a 4.6-inch screen, while folded, and a 7.3-inch screen folded out. Samsung said that it worked with Facebook Inc., Alphabet, Inc. Google and Microsoft Corp to create special versions of their popular apps to fit the new screen.
The device is “groundbreaking because it answers skeptics who said that anything done could be done,” DJ Koh, chief executive of Samsung Electronics, said at the event. “We are here to prove them wrong.”
The device could help Samsung, the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, to compete with rivals such as Apple Inc and China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, both sell premium smart phones. While Huawei gained market share last year, the entire industry saw the total sales per unit to decrease when the Chinese economy was struggling at the end of the year.
Samsung said it had developed new production processes for the phone to hang and flexible display to tolerate open and closed hundreds of thousands of times. Koh said that the purpose of the launch was to “load growth for our industry.”
Together with the folding phone, Samsung also provided an update to the ten-year-old Galaxy series of phones, adding new cameras and a 5G version. The 5G smartphones, both folding and rigid, aim to beat major rivals Apple and Xiaomi Corp on the market with a next-generation device like the Samsung defends a narrowing lead in the global handset shipments.
With the 5G versions of the flagships, the Korean electronics maker seems to have beaten Chinese rivals in the 5G race, although the device will work only on the small number of networks for the launch later this year. Apple is not to be expected that the release of a 5G-smartphone until the end of 2020.
Rival smartphone makers are expected to announce 5G models at next week’s Mobile World Congress, the leading annual event in Spain. Samsung said its 5G handset would be available in the early summer.
The Galaxy 10 series should appeal to consumers who are reluctant to upgrade for only incremental technological improvements in the performance. This resistance has led to the worst year ever for smartphone sales in 2018.
All of the Galaxy series of rigid phones with the exception of the 5G will be available from 8 March, with the S10+ for a price of $1000, and the S10 for a price of $900 and the smaller S10e of $750.
The main line S10 compares with $999 for Apple’s iPhone XS and $858 for Huawei’s premium ner Of 20 Pro.
Samsung is still the worldwide smartphone market leader with about 19 percent share, but it underperformed the market, which was down.
Huawei and Apple will fight for the second place with approximately 13 and 12 percent, respectively.
Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Lisa Shumaker