The $1,980 Samsung Galaxy Fold may launch on Verizon and Sprint
Samsung kicked off the foldable phone war when they unveiled the Samsung Galaxy Fold at Samsung Unpacked. Unfortunately, Samsung didn’t let anyone actually touch the device, leaving us with only a promotional hands-on of the device. Huawei responded with a strong showing at Mobile World Congress, letting many of us actually use their Huawei Mate X. The Huawei Mate X won a lot of people over with its outward folding display rather than the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s inward folding display. Unlike the Huawei Mate X, though, the Samsung Galaxy Fold will actually be available for purchase in the United States. However, Samsung’s press release says the Galaxy Fold will be available through AT&T and T-Mobile in Q2 2019, meaning a launch on Sprint or Verizon hasn’t been confirmed. Thanks to early firmware files and Samsung’s FOTA server, there’s evidence that the Galaxy Fold may launch on Verizon, Sprint, and other carriers in the United States.
XDA Recognized Developer deadman96385 shared what’s called the “combination firmware” for a device with model name SM-F900U. SM-F900U is the model name for the Samsung Galaxy Fold. A combination firmware, when referring to a Samsung device, is a professional firmware intended to unbrick or debug the hardware. Combination firmware often lacks a lot of the Samsung software you’ll find on release firmware, so most users don’t bother with them. The Galaxy Fold’s combination firmware, though, gives us some useful information about the device like the possible carrier variants, confirmation of the SoC, and more.
Within the system partition, there are carrier folders located in /system/carrier. These folders are named after carrier codes like “ATT,” “TMB,” or “VZW,” which Samsung uses internally to refer to carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless respectively. The carrier folders in the system partition contain either applications intended to be installed in the privileged system app directory (along with the requisite priv-app permission declaration files) or they’re empty. In /system, the folders for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon contain carrier apps and the permission files, while the rest, including Sprint’s, are empty. The two Verizon apps in question are “AdvancedCalling” which helps with ViLTE, VoLTE, and VoWiFi, and “HuxExtension” which helps the user set up a Verizon data plan on tablets.
We cross-referenced these carrier codes with Samsung’s FOTA (Firmware Over The Air) server, which provides us information on the latest available build for a given carrier code. For example, if you visit this URL, you’ll see that there’s active development for a Boost Mobile (BST) model with the latest build number being F900USQU0ASC1.DM/F900UOYN0ASC1/F900USQU0ASC1. I put together a table of the carrier codes I found in the firmware, the corresponding carrier name, and the most recent build number with its build date. As you can see, there’s active development on Samsung Galaxy Fold models for AT&T, Boost Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and U.S. unbranded. I’m not sure what CHA is, but development for that carrier seems to have been abandoned. The last build date for U.S. Cellular is October, so it’s possible that model has also been scrapped. Lastly, there’s a GCF carrier code with an in-development software build, but I’m not sure what company that refers to.
|Carrier Code||Carrier Name||Last Build||Build Date|
|ATT||AT&T||F900USQU0ASC1.DM/F900UOYN0ASC1/F900USQU0ASC1||March 1, 2019|
|BST||Boost Mobile||F900USQU0ASC1.DM/F900UOYN0ASC1/F900USQU0ASC1||March 1, 2019|
|CCT||Xfinity Mobile||F900USQU0ARJ5.DM/F900UOYN0ARJ5/F900USQU0ARJ5||October 1, 2018|
|CHA||???||F900USQU0ARJ5.DM/F900UOYN0ARJ5/F900USQU0ARJ5||October 1, 2018|
|GCF||???||F900USQU0ASC1.DM/F900UOYN0ASC1/F900USQU0ASC1||March 1, 2019|
|SPR||Sprint||F900USQU0ASC1.DM/F900UOYN0ASC1/F900USQU0ASC1||March 1, 2019|
|TMB||T-Mobile||F900USQU0ASC1.DM/F900UOYN0ASC1/F900USQU0ASC1||March 1, 2019|
|USC||U.S. Cellular||F900USQU0ARJ5.DM/F900UOYN0ARJ5/F900USQU0ARJ5||October 1, 2018|
|VMU||Virgin Mobile||F900USQU0ASC1.DM/F900UOYN0ASC1/F900USQU0ASC1||March 1, 2019|
|VZW||Verizon Wireless||F900USQU0ASC1.DM/F900UOYN0ASC1/F900USQU0ASC1||March 1, 2019|
|XAA||Unbranded||F900USQU0ASC1.DM/F900UOYN0ASC1/F900USQU0ASC1||March 1, 2019|
|XAS||Sprint||F900USQU0ASC1.DM/F900UOYN0ASC1/F900USQU0ASC1||March 1, 2019|
Thanks to Max Weinbach from our team for interpreting the build numbers to produce the build dates shown in the table above.
We found further evidence of Verizon support and direct confirmation that SM-F900U is the Samsung Galaxy Fold within autorun.iso located in /system/etc. This image runs when you plug in the device into the PC. I mounted the ISO on my PC and found a ModelName.txt file which lists “SM-F900U” and “Galaxy Fold.” There’s also a Verizon Software Upgrade Assistant software on the ISO, which when run, tries to install software that “will help your Galaxy Fold (SM-F900U) communicate with your PC.”
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Confirmation
Samsung’s press release and product page for the Galaxy Fold says the device is powered by a “7nm 64-bit Octa-core processor,” which most outlets understandably assumed to be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile platform given that the Exynos 9820 is an 8nm chip. However, some outlets, including ourselves, AndroidAuthority, Engadget, and a few others, were cautious about assuming the Galaxy Fold would have a Snapdragon 855 since Samsung didn’t explicitly mention it. The Galaxy Fold’s combination firmware confirms that the SM-F900U model intended for the United States is powered by Qualcomm’s latest processor. The build.prop in both the system and vendor partition lists the board as “sm8150” or “msmnile,” which are the Snapdragon 855’s internal model name and code-name respectively.
Samsung’s only mention of connectivity on the Galaxy Fold was the announcement of a 5G model for South Korea. We don’t know if the device will support MST for Samsung Pay, but given its steep $1,980 price tag we hope that Samsung isn’t cutting corners on any of the internals. The firmware doesn’t tell us much, but libnfc-nxp_RF.conf in /vendor/etc/nfc suggests that the Galaxy Fold will come with NXP’s PN80T NFC chip.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold has 6 cameras to make sure there’s always at least one camera pointing towards you or away from you. The /vendor/lib64/camera directory has a list of camera modules that could belong to the Samsung Galaxy Fold. We previously spotted the undisclosed Sony IMX374 in an earlier teardown, and the Galaxy Fold’s firmware suggests there are two of them on the device. The official specifications sheet says there are two 10MP f/2.2 selfie cameras, so I’m assuming the Sony IMX374 is a 10MP sensor. I couldn’t find any information on the “SAK2L4SX” sensor, but the closest thing I could find is the “SAK2L4” sensor which is the 12MP wide-angle sensor used on the Samsung Galaxy S10. “S5K4HA” is the 8MP sensor used on the front. “S5K3P9SN” is closest to the “S5K3P9” ultra-wide angle sensor on the Galaxy S10 series. Lastly, “S5K3M3” is a 13MP telephoto lens, the same one used on the Galaxy S10. I’m not sure why the megapixel count from the product page doesn’t match the specification sheet for either the Galaxy S10 or Galaxy Fold, though.
Thanks to Chinese firmware diggers on Weibo for finding the Galaxy S10 sensor names!
Samsung Blockchain KeyStore
A Samsung press release mentions that the “Galaxy S10 is built with defense-grade Samsung Knox, as well as a secure storage backed by hardware, which houses your private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile services.” This is referring to the Samsung Blockchain KeyStore, available now on the Galaxy Store for Samsung Galaxy S10 users. The app will help store your cryptocurrency wallets. We haven’t seen confirmation that the Galaxy Fold will also support crypto, but the combination firmware has the Samsung Blockchain KeyStore pre-installed in the /system/app directory. The APK is called “BlockchainBasicKit.”
Samsung Galaxy Fold Forums, Specifications, and Release
If you’re interested in spending almost $2,000 on a phone, then be my guest. We opened a forum for the Galaxy Fold if there are enough people out there actually interested in buying this product.
Here are all the specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Fold that we know of so far.
|Display||Main display: 7.3″ QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED (4.2:3)
Cover display: 4.6″ HD+ Super AMOLED (21:9)
|Cameras||Cover camera: 10MP Selfie Camera, f/2.2
Rear triple cameras: 16MP Ultra Wide Camera, f/2.2
12MP Wide-angle Camera, Dual Pixel Autofocus, OIS, f/1.5/f/2.4
12MP Telephoto Camera, PDAF, OIS, f/2.4, 2X optical zoom
Front dual cameras: 10MP Selfie Camera, f/2.2
8MP RGB Depth Camera, f/1.9
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855|
|RAM||12GB RAM (LPDDR4x)|
|Storage||512GB UFS 3.0 (no microSD card slot)|
|Charging||USB Type-C port: Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0.
WPC and PMA wireless charging. (Reverse wireless charging via Wireless PowerShare.)
|Software||Android 9 Pie-based One UI. Samsung DeX, Bixby Routines, Samsung Knox, Samsung Pay.|
|Biometrics||Side-mounted fingerprint scanner|
|Audio||Stereo speakers by AKG|
The Galaxy Fold will launch on April 26th, though supply will be limited according to The Verge. Samsung will hold another press event in April before the launch where we hope to learn more information about the device and possibly get our hands on one.