Samsung Electronics first foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, appears ready for launch, according to industry sources this week.
Recently, a group of tech experts formed of industry professionals and professors at Seoul National University and KAIST have tested out the foldable smartphone and said it was good to go.
“A couple weeks ago, Samsung Electronics sent out the Galaxy Fold to this group and word is that the phone aced the tests and is ready for launch,” said a source close to the matter.
The latest development comes after Samsung Display’s vice president Kim Seong-cheol said last month that the foldable displays are ready for Galaxy Fold’s mass production. Samsung Display supplies Samsung’s IT & mobile business department for assembly.
The Galaxy Fold was originally planned for launch in April this year was delayed due to durability issues.
If the Galaxy Fold wants to beat Huawei, it would have be soon, since the Chinese smartphone maker said on July 21 that its first foldable phone, the Mate X, would start being sold late July or early August. The head of Huawei’s smartphone business, also said the phone was waiting for network approach permission, according to Chinese media TechWeb.
Huawei may not be the only rival. Royole Corp., another Chinese firm, launched the world’s first foldable phone FlexPai, but the production volume had been too small to be significant. But a supplier of display film for the FlexPai said Royole is planning to begin selling a second batch. This supplier also sells the foldable film to Mate X.
“I heard from some sources in China that the OS for the first batch of the Mate X will support Chinese only, and after that, it’s going to support English,” he said. This comes amid speculation that Huawei may also reveal its independent Ark OS at the HDC 2019 scheduled for August 9.
Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics plans to unveil its Galaxy Note 10 in the US on August 7. Some critics said given this launch date, it would be too risky for Samsung to unveil the Galaxy Fold, as the dates would nearly overlap.
“Still, releasing the world’s first mass produced foldable smartphone faster than Huawei may be a bigger deal than losing customers,” said one industry watcher.