- Samsung is no stranger to experimenting with form factors for smartphones, as it proved again this week with the Galaxy Fold.
- The gadget maker has released many unconventional phones over the years, from flip phones with swivel hinges to phones with curved screens.
After much anticipation, Samsung on Wednesday finally unveiled its first foldable smartphone, the appropriately named Galaxy Fold.
Starting at a whopping $US1,980, the Galaxy Fold is a 4.6-inch phone that unfolds to become a 7.3-inch tablet. Samsung is pitching the Galaxy Fold as a luxury one-of-a-kind device for those in need of a gadget with more screen space than your average smartphone. During its keynote, the company boasted that the Galaxy Fold can run three apps simultaneously on the screen, for example.
Samsung has a long history of releasing unconventional phones that experiment with form factors. Here’s a look at some of the most distinguished phones the South Korean electronics giant has made over the years.
Samsung Juke (2007)
With the Juke, Samsung attempted to combine a phone with an MP3 player, resulting in a super skinny phone that served as a music player when shut and a phone when opened.
The phone’s keypad was tucked away under the screen, which swiveled out like a switchblade – undoubtedly the phone’s most memorable characteristic. It also had a metal scroll wheel for navigating the tiny screen in music-player mode.
Samsung Galaxy Round (2013)
Curved screens have become a staple of Samsung’s latest flagship phones, and it all started in 2013 with the Galaxy Round. The device’s screen was concave, meant to make the phone more comfortable to hold up to your ear and in your hand.
Samsung launched the phone in South Korea in October 2013.
Samsung Galaxy Golden (2013)
Even in the era of the smartphone, Samsung hasn’t given up on flip phones.
The Samsung Galaxy Golden, which the company launched in 2013, according to the tech website Gadgets 360, appears to be a smartphone squeezed into a flip-phone form factor. It had two 3.7-inch touchscreens: one on the clamshell cover, and one inside.
Samsung Reclaim (2009)
Like many phones of its time, the Samsung Reclaim had a sliding keyboard. What made this phone stand out was its eco-friendly design, with recycled-plastic construction and packaging made from recycled paper, CNET said in its review from 2009.
That and its bright-green colour, of course.
Galaxy S4 Zoom (2013)
As the name implies, the Galaxy S4 Zoom is a smartphone/camera that supported a 10X optical zoom. It essentially looked like a Galaxy S4 with a camera stuck to its back.
Samsung released the phone as a variant of the Galaxy S4 in 2013.
Samsung Beat DJ (2009)
Samsung’s Beat DJ wasn’t just designed for listening to music – it was made for DJ-ing too, apparently.
The oddly shaped phone included a DJ app that made it possible to scratch a track by pressing the middle of the screen. It appeared to be a flop though; CNET said in its 2009 review that the app would be “the most unused feature of all time.”
It also included Bang & Olufsen audio.
Bang & Olufsen Serene (2006)
The Bang & Olufsen Serene may be one of the most oddly designed phones, with a distinguished trapezoid shape and a rotary-style keyboard.
The audio company partnered with Samsung on the device, which was marketed as a luxury gadget for audiophiles. It was priced at $US1,275 unlocked when it launched, according to CNET’s review from 2006.
But it wasn’t very practical, as the review said a screwdriver was required to access the battery and the SIM card.
Samsung SPH-N270, commonly called “the Matrix phone” (2003)
When it comes to Samsung’s SPH-N270, the appeal is in its novelty.
The phone is probably recognisable only to those who have seen “The Matrix Reloaded,” considering Samsung released this phone in 2003 to coincide with the movie’s launch and didn’t market it much beyond that, according to PhoneArena.
Samsung is said to have produced a limited number of units, making it a rare find today that can sell for as much as $US600 on eBay.
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