Samsung launches new Galaxy Fold, S10 smartphones, Galaxy wearables

By Mark Gurman, February 21 2019
Samsung launches new Galaxy Fold, S10 smartphones, Galaxy wearables

Samsung's latest line-up of mobile gadgets will hit the shelves in March, ranging from the high-end Galaxy Fold phone – a mobile and a tablet in one – through to the new Galaxy S10 and S10+ lines, brand new S10e and S10 5G models, and fresh wearables in the Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Buds.

Here's what Samsung unveiled this week at its 'Unpacked' launch events in San Francisco and London.

Samsung Galaxy Fold phone

Essentially doubling as two devices in one, the Galaxy Fold has a 4.6-inch screen when used as a phone...

and can unfold into a tablet with a 7.3-inch screen.

The larger screen means users can multitask and view three applications at once. Users can display the Galaxy Fold like a phone, then open it up to see the larger view via a feature called App Continuity.

Samsung’s device is not the first foldable-screen phone, but the company’s brand, reach and technological prowess makes it the most advanced folding phone for the mass market. It’s a leap that rivals the category shifts not seen since smartphones took off with a broad audience more than a decade ago.

Featuring a new chip and 12 gigabytes of RAM – more memory than most laptops – it also has 512 GB of storage, which is the same as the maximum for Apple’s latest iPhones.

There are also two batteries -- one below each screen -- to allow for the folding mechanism to function properly, and the Galaxy Fold has six cameras across the back, front and inside the fold of the phone.

The company said it’s working with Google on Android and third-party developers to optimize the software and their applications.

Available in four colours – black, blue, silver and green – users will also be able to customise the colour of the folding hinge.

Samsung Galaxy S10, S10+, S10e, and S10 5G phones

Samsung's latest mobile line-up comprises the Galaxy S10 and S10+, direct successors to last year’s S9 and S9+, while the S10e and S10 5G are two new models for the company: a low-end phone aimed at Apple’s iPhone XR, and a high-end version with a higher price tag to match.

The S10 and S10+ include 6.1-inch and 6.4-inch screens respectively, up from 5.8 inches and 6.2 inches on last year’s models.

Front-facing cameras sit inside holes cut into in the display itself as an alternative to including them in a "notch," as the iPhone does. The displays also now have in-screen fingerprint scanners, a new approach that diverts from the 3-D facial recognition scanner employed by Apple in its latest devices.

They also add a third back camera as a wide-angle lens.

Samsung has previewed a 5G model to be launched in Australia in partnership with Telstra, which in addition to the faster web download speeds, includes front and back 3-D depth cameras for more professional-looking photos and augmented reality, a larger battery, and a 6.7-inch screen.

Its overall footprint, however, is similar to the S10+ model, with 5G expected to become available in Australia in the first half of 2019.

The lower-end S10e model offers a 5.8-inch screen, but lacks the in-screen fingerprint reader (it’s on the side of the phone instead), and has only two rear cameras.

The S10e's bezels, like the iPhone XR versus the high-end iPhone XS line, are also slightly thicker.

At its San Francisco event, Samsung also announced a pair of key partnerships for the new devices. Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook Inc.’s Instagram photo-sharing app, announced that an Instagram mode would be integrated into the new camera application.

It lets people upload photos and videos directly to the Instagram Stories feature and use the app’s filters. Samsung also said it is working with Adobe on an optimized version of its Premiere Rush CC video editing app.

All of the phones will work with a new feature called Wireless PowerShare, which lets users charge a phone or wireless headphones by tapping it to the back of one of the new Samsung models.

Now available to pre-order and on sale in Australia from March 8, the S10+ retails for $2,399 (1TB), $1,849 (512GB) and $1,499 (129GB), while the S10 can be had for $1,699 (512GB) or $1,349 (128GB). The S10e, available with 128GB of storage, costs $1,199.

New Samsung wearables: Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Buds

Samsung this week also debuted upgraded Galaxy Active and Fit smartwatches that pair with the new phones, and new Galaxy Buds headphones, competitors to Apple’s popular AirPods.

The Galaxy Watch Active "comes with sporty new design that is thin, light and versatile," Samsung describes, offering new features like blood pressure monitoring via your wrist and the My BP Lab all, in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

There's also a stress tracker and a dedicated stress widget, with features such as breathing exercises to help calm you down. Fitness tracking gets easier too, with the device automatically detecting when you run, cycle, row, use an elliptical trainer, or start a dynamic workout, which can count towards any daily goals you assign yourself while monitoring your overall progress.

Compatible with Android and iOS, popular third-party apps such as Spotify, Under Armour and Strava are also supported, and the Galaxy Watch Active is compatible with both Android and iOS, so you don't necessary need to have a Samsung smartphone to upgrade your wrist tech.

Like the Galaxy Watch Active, the new Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e gadgets also track your exercise automatically, with an added extra for Samsung smartphone users in being able to select from over 90 activities in the Samsung Health app.

Samsung also touts "enhanced sleep analysis and smart stress management" on these devices, plus, when you travel to a new time zone, the Galaxy Fit with automatically display a dual-clock watch face, to help you manage your time away without losing track of home.

Both devices are water resistant, while the Galaxy Buds come with a battery life of up to six hours for Bluetooth streaming or up to five hours of voice calls, and can also make use of Wireless PowerShare via compatible Samsung Galaxy devices.

Retailing for $249, they'll be offered free to customers who pre-order a Galaxy S10 from participating retailers before midnight AEDT March 7 2019.

Additional reporting by Chris Chamberlin.

Mark Gurman

Mark Gurman covers consumer technology for Bloomberg

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 119

Does anyone still prefer Samsung as their Android devices? Seems Google Pixel is really taking the Android market slowly. Lots of Samsung users going to the pixel now and not looking back.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 6

Hmm, I’m still wondering if people are even using Android devices still, since your personal information is being sold onto big data companies (i.e. text messages, photos, recorded calls, etc.).

As I do my best to resist an Android vs. iOS debate (the above is my poor attempt haha), I cannot imagine texting or emailing on such an awkward screen, for the Galaxy Fold. I call this a fad...and I agree - the best Android phone available right now is the Pixel 3.

I've actually had a lot of friends jump across to the Huawei band wagon. I'm still with samsung though. Really enjoying my Samsung note 9

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 681

No mention of the proposed AU price for the 'trendy' Samsung Fold yet? US articles suggest that the price point will be in the range of USD $2,000+, so Australian pricing will definitely be interesting.

Somehow, Samsung hasn't yet got or received the stock market memo that suggests - as in Apple's experience - that $2,000 handsets are not a thing, and are unlikely to be.

10 Jul 2017

Total posts 32

its not about the hardware, the most important thing is the software. android is very poor compared to the seamless apple experience

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