Samsung has put its efforts in the ground with its Galaxy Fold smartphone folding phone, which is spectacular in every way, even in price, and lays the year ahead of its arch rival, Apple.
Almost a decade in the making, talking about Galaxy Fold next generation. It has a standard 4.6-inch screen on the front, but opens it up as a book and reveals a single large 7.3in screen that is literally folded in half. No lines, no wrinkles, no visible shrinks. It is a level of luxury and innovation that has not been seen before, and it comes with a truly eye-catching $ 2000 price tag. But no one said breaking limits were cheap.
Someone, like Ben Wood, chief researcher at CCS Insight, sees it as a "gadget lovers magnet" that is "no doubt a solution in search of a problem" – especially because it costs more than twice as much as Samsung's other new top-end phones Galaxy S10 +.
But few argue against the feeling that this type of boundary interruption is what a stagnant smartphone industry needs, even if it is not a mass sale or a profit.
Francisco Jeronimo, an assistant vice president of analysts IDC, describes Galaxy Fold as "one of the announcements that will transform the future of smartphones".
Galaxy Fold was created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Samsung Galaxy S phone line, which alongside the iPhone has been the main driver of the smartphone industry over the last decade.
It is a whole product that the South Korean firm can hang on to its regular Galaxy S10 offerings and enhance its brand. But it's also an eye for Apple, celebrating its 10th anniversary of its smartphone era with the iPhone X – a brilliant and well-polished product, but one that looks rather evolutionary rather than revolutionary next to the Galaxy Fold.
When every phone looks like the same and every change seems completely iterative to the consumer, despite costing more and more each year, it's no wonder people are doing their phones for a long time. Innovation is dead is crying. Why buy the next big thing, when it's neither interesting nor cheap, and your existing phone still doing well?
"To those who say they've seen it all, I say, buckle the safety belt, the future is about to begin," said DJ Koh, head of Samsung's mobile business, holding the Galaxy Fold aloft – his great effort for the future of the entire mobile technology industry.
Big games are needed to break industry stagnation and resume consumers.
Whether foldable phones really take off, should be seen, but Samsung won't be the only one with this year. China's Huawei is expected to announce one in the next few months, which is "China's Apple", Xiaomi. And the US based Chinese firm Royole released a developer version of its FlexPai folding phone last year.
The common denominator here is Asia. These hardware innovations are not made in the United States, while Europe has lagged behind. Even in Asia, changes are in the process of accelerating China's pace to challenge the strong in South Korea.
With Samsung chips on the table and China soon to join, the question remains as to how long it takes before folding screen phones hit the ordinary with a quarter of today's price. And consensus seems to be not within five years.