Samsung jumped the queue and arguably raised the bar as rival manufacturers get set to launch new gadgets at MWC19 Barcelona, unveiling a foldable device and four smartphones in its Galaxy S10 range.

The South Korean manufacturer, which unveiled the new line-up at events in London and San Francisco, opted to show its hand just a few days before the annual industry gathering in Barcelona kicks off.

There were four new devices shown-off at the event in the Galaxy S10 range: the Galaxy S10; a higher-spec Galaxy S10+; the lower-tier Galaxy S10e; and the Galaxy S10 5G.

Galaxy Fold
But, the headline grabber was what Samsung described as a revolution for the smartphone market, a new foldable device dubbed Galaxy Fold.

DJ Koh, president and CEO of Samsung’s IT and Mobile Communications division, said the device represented the company’s desire to “reinvent the smartphone from the ground up.”

The device was billed as both a smartphone and a tablet as its 4.6-inch screen folds out into a 7.3-inch display.

By switching between the smaller and larger screen, users can access three apps at once, with an App Continuity feature custom-built for the foldable design. Apps can open up on the smaller display, and users can pick up where they left off when opening up the device to access the larger screen.

The Fold’s specs are also at the high-end. It packs an HD+ Super AMOLED display, 12GB RAM and 512GB storage, and a six-camera system.

In a statement, Koh said: “Samsung is writing the next chapter in mobile innovation history by changing what’s possible in a smartphone.”

Owning the next chapter in mobile innovation will, however, not come cheap. Samsung priced the device at $1,980 in the US and €2,000 in Europe. It will be available in certain markets from 3 May.

The 5G era
Coming to the new Galaxy S10 range, the company highlighted the fact it was now a decade since the launch of its first Galaxy S device, as it touted the new lines’ beefed-up capabilities in display, camera and performance.

And, ten years on, the company was keen to talk up the Galaxy S10 5G device, which it said “charts the path for Galaxy for the next ten years”.

The S10 5G is the biggest of the new foursome, sporting a 6.7-inch curved display.

Samsung said the phone was designed bigger to enable consumers to take full advantage of 5G connectivity for streaming TV shows, gaming, and augmented- and virtual-reality experiences.

There is one storage option, at 256GB and 8GB RAM.

In terms of availability, the company said a number of operators, including Sprint, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom, will carry the device when 5G launches later this year. A firm date or pricing was not revealed.

Screens, cameras, storage
The Galaxy S10e is the smallest of the four new devices, with a 5.8-inch full HD+ flat dynamic screen, while the Galaxy S10 sports a 6.1-inch, quad HD+ curved display.

Although offering higher specifications, the Galaxy S10+ is slightly smaller than the S10 5G at 6.4-inches. It also packs a curved display.

All four devices have been built with a “Dynamic AMOLED display”, as well as being the “first HDR10+” certified smartphones.

The devices’ screens also pack an “array of sensors and camera technology”, including an in-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner “that reads the 3D contours of your physical thumbprint”, providing extra security.

When it comes to the camera, Samsung said it raised the bar with its new line-up, pointing to dual-pixel and dual-aperture firsts, along with enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

The Galaxy S10 line offers an ultra-wide lens with a 123-degree field of view, as well as an AI camera that it said makes smart features more accurate via a Neural Processing Unit (NPU).

Galaxy S10e packs a dual camera; the S10 and S10+ have triple cameras; and the S10 5G has a quadruple system.

The S10+ offers the biggest option in terms of storage, with 1TB and up to 12GB RAM. It also has a 128GB and a 512GB option. The S10 comes with 128GB or 512GB of storage and the S10e offers 128GB and 256GB (RAM is 8GB in both cases).

Another standout feature in the devices is the inclusion of the new Wi-Fi 6 standard, enabling better performance and speed.

Galaxy S10e pricing starts at $749.99; the S10 at $899.99; and the S10+ begins at $999.99.

Along with the new smartphones, Samsung also launched new wireless headphones, Galaxy Buds, as well as two fitness-focused wearables, Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Fit.