Samsung has officially introduced its first production foldable smartphone – the Galaxy Fold – at an event in San Francisco, one of four new phones shown off at the presentation.
While most commentators correctly assumed that the event would introduce the world to several new Galaxy S10 devices, the appearance of the Fold was more of a surprise, especially when it was revealed that the device will hit shelves on April 26th – far sooner than many had predicted.
However, those eager to get their hands on the device will need to have deep pockets, as the handset is set to start at $1,980 (£1,515) for the 4G version available at launch, with a more expensive 5G option set to follow later in the year.
Acknowledging it is intended to be a luxury device, DJ Koh, president and chief executive of Samsung's IT & Mobile Communications Division, said the Galaxy Fold has been created for those who "want to experience what a premium foldable device can do" and go beyond the limitations of the traditional smartphone form.
He added: "Samsung is writing the next chapter in mobile innovation history by changing what’s possible in a smartphone. Galaxy Fold introduces a completely new category that unlocks new capabilities never seen before with our Infinity Flex Display."
The device features a 7.3-inch display on the inside of the fold and, when closed, also has a 4-6-inch outer screen. Unlike previous foldable phones, such as the Royole Flex Pai, it is completely flat when folded, which is achieved thanks to a "sophisticated hinge with multiple interlocking gears" that is hidden within the phone.
Under the housing, it boasts 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage space and a large 4,380mAh, so it shouldn't want for performance either. It also comes with six cameras – three on the rear, two on the front and one on the outer cover for selfies when the phone is closed.
Opinions were somewhat divided on the phone, with many praising its design, but querying its high price tag. However, Carolina Milanesi from consultancy Creative Strategies told the BBC: "It makes sense to have kept it under $2,000, even if only for the psychological effect that has."