Samsung's foldable phone is here: S10 series launched with 5G

South Korean company's Galaxy Fold, which will go on sale in the second quarter of 2019, is priced at $1,980

The world's largest smartphone maker, Samsung, unveiled its S10 series during a Galaxy Unpacked event at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Wednesday.

On offer were better cameras, vast memory, a 5G-enabled device and a smartphone with a foldable screen.

The Galaxy Fold, a phone with a flexible screen, delivers a new kind of mobile experience.

It features the world’s first infinity flex display, at 18.5 centimetres, which folds into a compact device with a cover display.

With six cameras, it is priced at $1,980 (Dh7,273) and it will be available in the second quarter of 2019.

“We created Galaxy Fold for those who want to experience what a premium foldable device can do, beyond the limits of a traditional smartphone,” said DJ Koh, president and chief executive of IT and mobile communications at Samsung.

Unlike last year, when the company launched only two variants of the S series, S9 and S9+, it launched four models of S10 in 2019, the 10th anniversary of its leading Galaxy family.

“Since its launch 10 years ago, the Galaxy S series has stood for premium innovation, offering consumers an incredible experience and the ability to find the device that’s right for them,” Mr Koh said.

Galaxy S10 builds on that incredible legacy, and delivers breakthrough display, camera, and performance innovations, he said.

Other new devices – the 15.5cm S10, 16.3cm S10+ and 14.7cm S10e – will go for sale on March 8 with orders starting on February 21.

The three devices will be available in prism white, prism black, prism green, prism blue, canary yellow and flamingo pink.

Prices start at $899.99 for Galaxy S10, $999.99 for Galaxy S10+ and $749.99 for Galaxy S10e.

The S10+ comes with five cameras – three on the rear and two on the front. This  gives Samsung an edge over its main competitors such as Huawei and Apple, although last year LG launched its V40 model with five cameras.

The fourth variant of the new series, the Galaxy S10 5G – Samsung’s first 5G smartphone – will take connection speeds to new levels by allowing users to experience network speeds of up to 20 times faster than 4G.

S10 5G, the exact launch date for which has not been disclosed, features the largest-ever Galaxy S series screen with 17cm display and 3D depth camera. It is powered by an enormous battery of 4,500 milli Ampere hours.

Industry experts consider the S10 line-up as one of the best so far from South Korean company.

"Considering the immense competition by Chinese makers, Samsung had no choice but to deliver a knock-out product and, based on initial impressions, it appears that Samsung might have done just that with the Galaxy S10 line," said Abbas Ali, managing editor of TechRadar Middle East.

With features such as a punchhole display, a triple camera setup (on the rear of S10 and S10+), reverse wireless charging and an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, the Galaxy S10 matches or exceeds the competition's hardware.

They are also beautifully designed and feature a screen that is unmatched in the industry, Ali said.

“What puts Samsung in the lead is the software," he said. "Its recent One UI update provides a clean, fast and gorgeous Android experience – an area where Chinese manufacturers are quite a bit behind with their heavily skinned Android phones."

One UI is an Android-based custom mobile operating system designed by Samsung for its Galaxy devices.

The smartphone industry, fell globally by more than 5 per cent year in 2018 from 2017, in its first-ever full-year decline, Boston research company Strategy Analytics said.

Samsung maintained leading position with 20.4 per cent market share in 2018, ahead of Apple and Huawei, both of which account for 14.4 per cent each of the global market.

But Samsung shipped 291.3 million smartphones last year, nearly 25 million less than 2017, Strategy Analytics reported.

Samsung is planning its Gulf region launch of S10 series in Dubai on March 6.