Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 roadmap hints at some welcome improvements

Samsung's new Galaxy Fold 2 is expected to go into production in June or July, whispers from the supply chain claim, as it readies the launch of its third foldable handset and beyond. After a troubled debut for the original Galaxy Fold in 2019, Samsung had a much smoother time with the Galaxy Z Flip, which shrunk the concept down into a more pocket-friendly form as well as introduced a folding glass display.

That new panel technology addressed one of the early complaints about the original Galaxy Fold, in that its flexible OLED panel felt delicate and plasticky in comparison to the touchscreen of most modern, non-folding smartphones. Samsung's answer was "ultra-thin glass" sourced from German specialist Schott, which the phone-maker branded "Samsung Ultra Thin Glass" for its own purposes.

The expectation is that it will continue to use that UTG materials for the Galaxy Fold 2, and we could see that in just a few months time. According to ETNews' sources, Samsung will begin manufacturing of components for the next-generation foldable in May. That will pave the way for production of the smartphone to start in June or July.

A few key changes for the Galaxy Fold 2

Samsung isn't straying too far from the design of the original Galaxy Fold, it's suggested, focusing its changes for the second-generation foldable on areas where it encountered most criticism. As such, the Galaxy Fold 2 is expected to stick with the "phone that opens into a tablet" concept. This time around, though, the screen is believed to be slightly larger, at around 8-inches compared to the 7.3-inches of the current device.

More importantly, however, it's said to be lighter than the first Galaxy Fold. The combination of bigger batteries, two screens, and the hinge mechanism all contributed to making the Fold no lightweight in the hand or pocket. If Samsung can pare that back, without compromising on hinge performance – and still adding 5G network support – it would be a considerable improvement.

The hope is also that Samsung can slim down the Fold 2. Thickness when folded is another of the primary complaints about the original handset: while it's 6.9 mm thick when opened up, closed it's a chunky 15.5 mm. Doing that without sacrificing features like the metal inner frame supporting the flexible OLED screen, though, could be tricky.

A busy 2020 for foldables

While we've seen other manufacturers launch foldables, or at least talk about the idea, Samsung has been the most ambitious when it comes to actually embracing the fledgling category. 2020 looks as though it won't see a let-up on that pace, either.

According to the leaks, this Galaxy Fold 2 could make its debut at an event in August. That would be followed shortly after with a commercial launch. It could opt to reveal the Fold 2 alongside the Galaxy Note 11, the latest iteration of its flagship pen-enabled phablet.

Potentially working to Samsung's advantage is Google's existing work to make Android 10 more foldable-friendly. While the South Korean phone-maker needed to do its own customizations in order to accommodate the flexible form-factor and multiple displays of the original Galaxy Fold, Android 10 bakes in native support in many ways. Android 11, which is currently in developer preview, takes that integration even further, which could seriously simplify Samsung's software efforts later on.