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By 21 February 2019 | Categories: news

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It was heard over and again before Samsung’s event began last night – what attendees were hoping for was something different, innovative and exciting. Well the company certainly delivered. First it announced a new mobile category with its foldable smartphone – the Samsung Fold -  beating any Mobile World Congress announcements by other manufacturers debuting folding screens.

Then it detailed the much leaked Galaxy S10, not just one of them, but rather showing off four variants – an S10, S10 plus with bigger screen, battery and more capacity, an S10E (for essentials)  which scales down on the screen size and number of cameras for a more budget friendly price, and finally a S10 5G to take advantage of the forthcoming next gen network.

It was the latter that I actually thought was particularly exciting, not just for the  larger screen, battery, and 3D depth sensing camera, but for the experiences that Samsung alluded to content creators being able to  create with it (think augmented reality, even better videos, and the like).

But the most different device on the floor of last night’s event was the Samsung Fold.     

Alas while we couldn’t take photos and videos of it, attendees did get a few precious minutes hands on with the device, and largely I walked away impressed. It’s basically a small phone (4.6 inch display screen) that opens up into a square, Kindle sized 7.3” tablet.

You can feel the hinge in the centre of the screen though it doesn’t disrupt your screen view. As well, switching from what is on your phone screen to the tablet screen is fast and worked seamlessly.

Also, the device has not one but two batteries, so battery life shouldn’t be an issue. Its cameras are similar to what you find on the S10 Plus - a 12 megapixel wide angle camera, 16 megapixel ultrawide offering and a 12 megapixel telephoto camera.   

If I was being critical I would say for those who are accustomed to 6.1-6.4” screens, going back to a 4.6” cover display feels quite jarring, and I can’t help but wonder why the company didn’t just make the folded form size larger. That being said, the Infinity flex display looks what you would expect from Samsung – top notch.

I definitely had the same impression holding and playing with the device as I did when the first Note came out – that it will redefine what we will come to expect from mobile devices in the near future. So on that count, Samsung succeeded in bringing something genuinely different to bear.

Early adopters though, can expect to pay a steep premium - the price of  the phone is slated for $1980, or around R28 000. For those who are willing to wait a bit – conventional wisdom and experience suggests that The Fold 2, or maybe even a Fold Note – will offer improvements and refinements across the board, and maybe a somewhat more palatable price as well.    

With it though, Samsung accomplished something else - it threw down the gauntlet to other manufacturers to top that. The big question now is whether they can, if so, with what. Stay tuned, because mobility just became interesting again.

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