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Galaxy Z Flip could have a foldable glass screen: All we know about Samsung Galaxy Fold successor

Samsung's foldable flip phone is designed to rival the Motorola Razr. Here's the latest on its possible screen, price, camera and Feb. 11 unveiling.

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An artistic render of how the Galaxy Z Flip could look.

Giuseppe Spinelli/LetsGoDigital

Samsung's upcoming foldable phone -- likely to be called the Galaxy Z Flip -- code name Galaxy Bloom -- might be the first to get a bendable glass screen, according to a rumor that's bubbled to the surface from Lets Go Digital. Any glass that tops a foldable phone has to the extremely thin for it to bend without breaking, but strong enough to protect the electronic display underneath. Ultrathin glass that measures as thick as a strand of human hair is likely to be the first to come to market, with other possibilities down the line, like a foldable glass made of diamond crystal.

With this smaller, and likely cheaper, flip model, Samsung has another chance to hook people who are interested in foldable phones. It also gives the brand an opportunity to hammer out problems that befell the Galaxy Fold's original design -- pitfalls that damaged the screen and caused Samsung to delay and redesign its phone.

The Galaxy Flip is expected to be smaller than Samsung's Galaxy Fold from 2019 and rival the Motorola Razr flip phone that was announced in November, and delayed.  It could unfold into a 6.7-inch screen, unlike the Galaxy Fold design, which has a 7.3-inch screen that bends in half to open like a book. 

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This render imagines how the Galaxy Z Flip phone's hinge might look with the foldable phone opened up.

Lets Go Digital

Whatever it's called, Samsung is widely expected to launch the Galaxy Z Flip on Feb. 11 in San Francisco at its official Unpacked event. Invitations are out, subtly hinting at a second phone it will announce alongside the Galaxy S20 (previously thoughts to be called the S11). Rumors have long pointed to a flip design that folds into a square.

After only three significant devices in 2019, foldable phones still teeter on the edge of futuristic fancy and reality. Done right, they could double your usable screen space while still closing into a small enough rectangle to carry around. Done poorly, these expensive science experiments could confirm that ever-larger phones are the right way to make a phone.

Read on for everything we know and don't know about Samsung's next foldable phone.

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Latest rumored specs (more below)

  • 6.7-inch vertically folding display, possibly with bendable glass
  • Two rear cameras
  • 10-megapixel front-facing camera
  • Two batteries, one 900-mAh capacity (other unknown)
  • "Hideaway Hinge" that could help keep our dust and crumbs

Feb. 11 launch date likely, same as the Galaxy S20/S11

We know for a fact that Samsung is planning a vertically folding phone, since the company showed off a mock-up of the foldable design in question. But Samsung's kept quiet since then. We're bracing for the flood of details at Samsung's next Unpacked event on Feb 11

In addition to unveiling the Galaxy S20/S11, industry watchers also believe Samsung will use its spotlight to unveil this second foldable phone -- for two simple reasons. The first is that the unveiling would follow Samsung's pattern from last year, where it introduced the Galaxy Fold alongside the Galaxy S10. 

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The Z Flip could have two cameras on the back and one on the front.

Giuseppe Spinelli/LetsGoDigital

The second reason we think we'll see it Feb. 11 and not, say, at Mobile World Congress (MWC) two weeks later, is because it's cheaper and easier to plan one big announcement event than two. Of course, it's possible that Samsung will go over the basics at Unpacked and save the details for MWC, the world's largest mobile devices show.

Name: Galaxy Z Flip, not Galaxy Bloom after all

Speculation is settling on Galaxy Z Flip as a more likely name for the new foldable phone than the Galaxy Bloom and especially the Galaxy Fold 2. Here's one good reason to expect that Fold 2 isn't in the works: The Korea Herald reports that there will be a Galaxy Fold successor (the Fold 2?) in August.

Even without those rumors, it's clear that Samsung wouldn't want to make a foldable flip phone part of the Fold family, not when the Galaxy Fold represents a luxury device with an enormous screen and this foldable clamshell phone will have a much narrower display.

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During its annual developer conference in October, Samsung discussed two ways a phone could fold.

James Martin/CNET

It's suggested that the Galaxy Z Flip will unfold into a tall, slim 6.7-inch display, larger than the Motorola Razr's 6.2-inch screen. Remember that screen dimensions are measured at the diagonal, but they don't tell the whole story. The Razr's usable screen space feels a lot smaller than the Galaxy Fold, and minute compared with the 8-inch Huawei Mate X.

Can the Galaxy Z Flip avoid the Galaxy Fold's fatal screen flaws?

One thing that isn't clear in the leaked photos is what kind of design enhancements Samsung has made to sidestep the Fold's design flaws.

For its second attempt at the Galaxy Fold (the design that eventually went on sale), Samsung used plastic end caps to shrink a gap that could let in dust and debris. It also reinforced internal support for the delicate plastic display, among a few other fixes.

We'll still need to keep a close eye on this unnamed foldable phone's screen and hinge to see if there are any potential gaps.

Two cameras on the back and one inside

The Galaxy Fold has a total of six cameras: two on the outer "cover" display, one on the inside for video chats and selfies and three on the back. The Galaxy Z Flip could cut the total camera share in half, following a supposed leak from frequent phone leaker Ice Universe (originally from Chinese social media platform Weibo).

We see some pixelated images with a clear central hole-punch camera on the phone's foldable screen, and two cameras on the front cover of the phone. These would take selfies when the phone is closed, and also serve as your main camera when it's open.

Will it fold into a square? Probably not

The scuttlebutt points to the foldable Samsung flip phone packing down into a square, according to reports such as Bloomberg's. But it's probably more likely we'll get a squarish rectangle. Square phones tend to feel bulky, and the shape could impact video viewing dimensions.

A decade ago, square flip phones were big. The Motorola Flipout (2010) was a true square, measuring 2.6 inches tall and wide. The Samsung Gloss (2009) and LG Lotus Elite (2010) also helped propel the trend.

It's a good guess that large-screen foldables will retain much higher prices and tablet-size displays that fold into more of a pocketbook shape.

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A smaller screen crease could help fix one Galaxy Fold annoyance

Before all its screen damage overtook headlines, the biggest concern lobbed at the Galaxy Fold was about the center crease where the phone folds in half. Would it ruin the experience, how bad would it look, would it worsen over time?

One of the advantages of a vertical fold like the Motorola Razr is that the part where the screen creases is much smaller than on the Fold. There's just less screen width to bend with this design.

Support for 8K video capture

8K video capture is a rumor that applies to both the Galaxy S20/Galaxy S11 and the new foldable phone. That's a potential resolution of 7,680x4,320 pixels for a total of 33,177,600 pixels, or 16 times the number of pixels in a 1080p resolution. There's good reason to believe this one, too. 

In December, we saw how Qualcomm's new Snapdragon processors can support 8K video, and how 5G data can help you edit these massive videos online. We're seeing 8K TVs out now, but the videos to watch on them are more limited. 8K phones, 8K YouTube streaming and 8K screens could converge to help make these superhigh-resolution videos more prevalent. 

Can the Galaxy Z Flip avoid the Galaxy Fold's fatal screen flaws?

One thing that isn't clear in the leaked photos is what kind of design enhancements Samsung has made to sidestep the Fold's design flaws.

For its second attempt at the Galaxy Fold (the design that eventually went on sale), Samsung used plastic end caps to shrink a gap that could let in dust and debris. It also reinforced internal support for the delicate plastic display, among a few other fixes.

We'll still need to keep a close eye on this unnamed foldable phone's screen and hinge to see if there are any potential gaps.

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The Galaxy S11 is said to go on sale Feb. 11 or 18, shortly before a major mobile conference in Spain.

Cashkaro

No headphone jack is likely, so are Android 10 and One UI 2

Samsung officially ditched the headphone jack. The Note 10 phones didn't have them at all, and neither does the Galaxy Fold. There is, however, a USB-C charger port. It's also all but guaranteed to work with Android 10 and Samsung's One UI 2 software layer that rides on top of the Android OS.

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Galaxy Z Flip price: Between $800 and $2,000

Industry watchers agree that going with a clamshell style is one of the best ways to make these foldable phones cheaper, and therefore more likely for regular people to buy, not just those with $2,000 laying around.

The Korea Herald reports that Samsung's foldable flipper could cost $850, according to its sources. By comparison, the Motorola Razr costs $1,500, and Samsung isn't usually one to undercut the competition when it can back up its price with quality features and materials.

That said, there is at least one more suggestion that foldable phone prices could come closer to Earth. In early December, a $350 foldable phone called the Escobar Fold 1 was revealed by the brother of Pablo Escobar, the late drug kingpin. We know very little about that device, but it appears to closely resemble the Royole FlexPai, the first foldable phone, which we saw a year ago.

What we don't know about Samsung's next foldable phone

  • Battery design and rated battery life
  • If there's any waterproofing
  • If it will have 5G globally or only in some countries
  • Processor, memory, camera specs

This is just the beginning of the rumors and leaks for this device. Keep checking back for more details as they surface. In the meantime, brush up on all your Galaxy S20 rumors and leaks.

Published last month and periodically updated with new information.