back to article Samsung brings back clamshell phones with added Android

Samsung is reportedly bringing back the flip phone, adding Android and a pair of 3.7-inch touch screens to a form factor popular in the first GSM phones of the mid-1990s. Japanese blog Ringer's Blue Men spotted a manual (PDF) for the new handset. Dated July 2013 and labelled version 1.0, the manual leaves no doubt it's an …

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  1. Robert E A Harvey

    I like the look of that.

    Now we need a star-trek(kirk) style mesh flip-up to protect the external screen and I will get my wallet out!

    1. N13L5

      need a modernized version of the Matrix slider!

      Maybe that could mesh with the star trek comms thingy...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Run out of ideas...

    As no-one dare build new devices in our factories, so let's recycle an old one ;)

    1. stuff and nonesense

      Re: Run out of ideas...

      Best samsung phone I had was the SGH Z510. It was solidly built and bounced without breaking the screen!

  3. 1Rafayal

    I dont know why, but I have been hankering over an Android flip phone.

    They are pretty big in China, I think Sharp has an Android flip phone out over there.

    1. Mark .

      Given that the big problem with phones is the two constraints of "want more screen" and "fit in pocket", I've wondered why we don't see more folding-types (although this particular model is only a small screen one). Why not have one side being a full touchscreen, and the other for physical controls (perhaps a full qwerty keyboard)? Or even a phone with touchscreens on both(similar to the DS, but ideally as seamless as possible, to give effectively a large single screen, in a still compact pocket-sized form)?

      1. Jerome 0

        Thin and light

        I'm guessing we don't see more of it because "incredibly thin" seems to be an overriding design consideration, even to the extent of crippling battery life on devices in order to squeeze that extra millimetre off of them.

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        I'd definitely consider one if other specs were suitable (screen size, pen input etc)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I think Sharp has an Android flip phone out over there."

      yep, this certainly resembles the Sharp 007SH, which was targeted at the japanese market.

      but is this really a new phone? I realize there's a mention calling it the 'galaxy folder', but its specs (and design) look suspiciously similar to the SCH-W2013 (released late last year).

  4. bob's hamster

    About time too

    Clam shell phones were great, from the Motorola in the mid 90's onwards. I never understood why they completely disappeared. My wife had Sony Xperia mini about 3 years ago that she loved and since then has struggled with a full touch screen. There must be a large market of women who want to a phone they can dump in their handbags without worrying about the screen getting scratched by their car keys.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: About time too

      I think you've misread the article though...

      I agree that the best thing about the clamshell / flip phones was that the screen was protected when closed.

      This one however also has a screen on the outside, so that will still be vulnerable to keys etc.

      Close, but no cigar.

      1. bob's hamster
        Facepalm

        Re: About time too

        Good point. Still looks interesting though.

      2. Benchops

        Re: About time too

        They could make it double-folding to protect the outside screen too. What's the address of the patent office again?

  5. Piro

    Makes total sense

    I know people that hanker for t9 texting on a real keypad again. This will work for those people.

    1. CmdrX3

      Re: Makes total sense

      I certainly won't be one, T9 was fine unless you got one letter wrong, then you ended up with gibberish. At least with non T9 txts u cud use sht lik dis an still read it fne... just about. Honestly, give me a touchscreen qwerty keyboard every time (not one of those god awful BB ones that you need fingers of a 3 year old to use)

      1. Jordan Davenport

        Re: Makes total sense

        I'm not a fan of small keyboards in general, be they touchscreen or physical, but I've become quite fond of the swiping gestures from Swype, SlideIT, the Jellybean 4.2+ keyboard, etc. T9 was useful while I had a feature phone though, and I've seen some people who can type with it at what appeared to be 30 words per minute.

        That said, T9 is a bit rubbish if you've ever had friends mess with the dictionary. For instance, I was sending a text message to a feminist friend of mine who has lupus and is a Lady Gaga fan, telling her that I learned that apparently Gaga's aunt had died of lupus. I didn't notice that A and C are both on 2 until after I'd already sent the message...

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Makes total sense

        Modern T9 implementations allow you to get one or two letters wrong which is enough to avoid the problem.

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    You got me exited for a moment

    I would pay for a Psion5 type clamshell with modern hardware in it.

    And a good hinge...

  7. wowfood

    Aw man

    My fave phone so far as style was an LG flip phone, loved that little beast. If a galaxy flip phone were released over ehre at a decent price, I'd buy it.

    Hell even if it isn't released over here, if I could buy one from korea, and then put English android software on there from Cyanogen mod or something I'd still buy it and just set it up myself.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Choice is good

    That's why we all love Android. There is one that's for you, be it clamshell, or big, small, waterproof, builder-proof etc etc.

  9. anatak

    touch screen and keyboard please

    My current phone has a touch screen and keyboard but it is about the slowest phone on the planet.

    I really hate to write mails with a touch screen, I prefer the 9 keyboard without any prediction. The biggest problem is that android is not really suited for a keyboard. Websites and google maps act weird when I want to input things with the keyboard. I hope Samsung will market this in Japan as well as in Korea.

  10. Tachikoma

    Here's the actual phone, was reported back in July:

    http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/samsung-galaxy-folder-brings-nostalgic-flip-phone-style-to-android-1166541

  11. Zmodem

    all the fbi, cia, csi, ncsi in american tv dramas wont look a bunch of loosers whn cant afford a new phone

  12. Tannin

    Wow! A real phone again after all these years of EasyScratch (tm) toys. I want one.

  13. Cuddles Silver badge

    Numeric keypad?

    If there was an actual keyboard there they might have been on to something, but I just don't see the point of this. Two touchscreens and a half-assed input device? Are they trying to compete with the WiiU or something?

  14. adnim

    Reminds me

    of my 9 year old Nokia 6170, which I still use for one of my contact numbers.

  15. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    give it blackberry style QWERTY keyboard and I won't be able to resist!

  16. Maharg

    Fingering and Fondling

    Touch screen is all well and good, but doing anything fiddly on them I just can't handle, I can’t see half the screen because my man sized fingers are in the way, or it just doesn’t work as well as a dedicated button, for instance scrolling, my phone has a music player lets you scroll artists a-z, fair enough, but say I want to get to M half the time you end up on say J, you go down a bit, and end up on O, so back up and I am at K etc., all because my fingers are not invisible nor pointy.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There goes Samsung again. Waiting for Apple to invent things and then copying them.

    Oh, wait...

  18. Triggerfish

    Great idea

    Clamshells are so much more convenient if you don't take to much care of your stuff.

    My V3 used to be in my pocket all the time, and that included plenty of wandering round like a bum in different countries with it just shoved in shorts, admittedly the outside looked like it had been used for ballistic testing for small arms fire at the end with loads of nicks and dints, but I never had to care about it. The thing lasted being mistreated from being bought when it first came out at a stupid price, to last year.

    I was a little upset when it died.

    Now doing the same stuff I find myself always worrying about keys and coins in my pocket whenever I put my smart phone away.

  19. Shooter

    While we're reminiscing

    I recently found my first smartphone in the back of a drawer. Built by Kyocera, Palm powered, and actually named the Smartphone - can't seem to find a model number on it now. Awesome for the time (circa 2001 - 2002 IIRC), with a little slot for the stylus and an extendable antenna (kinda wish current phones had that, given the spotty coverage in some areas around here). I was the envy of all my geek friends ^_^

    Not exactly a clam-shell, but it has a little flip-down numeric keypad with the usual dedicated Palm buttons. When closed, a small (roughly 35mm x 45mm) portion of screen is exposed for displaying incoming call info; when open the screen is bout 45mm x 65mm, about the same as some of the earlier Android phones. The entire phone is roughly the same height and width as my EVO 4G LTE, but it's about 2.5 times as thick, and heavier. The flip-down keypad itself is only about 2mm thick, the rest of the bulk is mostly battery (I think I got most of a week out if it before needing to recharge). I'll have to make a serious effort to find the charger and see if it still fires up, for old times' sake.

  20. GrantB

    nice idea

    I had a Panasonic flip phone that had two really nice little features missing from my current smartphone.

    First was that the 'gesture' for answering a call or unlocking the phone was simply to press the spring loaded hinge release button. Phone flips open and ready to make/answer a call without even having to look at the phone. No pocket calls either.

    The other was such an obvious feature I have no idea why it has gone from newer phones; a nicely integrated multi coloured LED on the outside of the phone, which indicated status such as message received, power low, charging etc. It meant that when the phone was sitting on my desk at work, or when waking up in the morning, I could spot a missed message or the phone needing to be charged with out having to pick it up and check it. I notice lots of people now compulsively check their iPhones or Android phones for messages as the can't tell when the screen is off.

    My daughter inherited the old flip phone, so it was funny to pick it up recently; the screen seems tiny, and weird not to simply press the icon on the screen, but even with an old battery, it still ran for days without charging. Progress.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: nice idea

      Sonys have got a multicoloured LED, I believe HTCs and LGs have got one too. There's more to Android than Samsung...

      1. Havin_it
        Thumb Up

        Re: nice idea

        I can't speak for the whole Sammy stable, but the SII and SIII do indeed feature a multi LED on the front. Blue for unread SMS/email/missed call, red/green for charging. Or is there more to what you and OP are referring to than I'm getting ...?

  21. Christian Berger

    Folds up the wrong way

    You still just have your usual numeric keyboard in there. It would make a lot more sense to have a qwerty keyboard there, kinda like the Nokia communicators.

    But anyhow it's nice to see that some companies are trying to be slightly different again.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yeah go zx81 metro

    I just want a zx81 style keyboard on your mobile with a crt. Each of those keys did 5 or 6 things AND had better tactile feedback. Not sure if id have a screen on both sides though.

  23. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Real keys are great

    Physical keys to accept and reject calls, dial numbers, adjust the volume and take pictures, please. It's not that I don't like some of the clever software approaches (swiping contacts to call or speech recognition) it's just that more often than not I'm a just hairless ape with muscle memory. It's like remembering awesome keyboard shortcuts to your editor-of-choice.

    Just been roadtesting my XCover 2 on the hottest days of the year: swiping the screen to answer a call whilst on your bike is not particularly practical.

  24. Confuciousmobil

    I still want..

    Two tin cans connected by a bit of string, never needs recharging, why don't they bring that back?

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