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Samsung unveils Galaxy Fold, S10; opens first U.S. retail stores

By Daniel Uria
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Samsung unveils Galaxy Fold, S10; opens first U.S. retail stores
Samsung Electronics unveiled the highly anticipated Galaxy Fold, a new foldable device creating a new mobile category, at their Galaxy UNPACKED event on Wednesday. Photo by Samsung Electronics/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Samsung unveiled a foldable smart device dubbed the Galaxy Fold and opened its first retail stores in the United States on the 10th anniversary of its Galaxy line of smartphones Wednesday.

The South Korean tech company unveiled the Galaxy Fold during its "Galaxy UNPACKED" event in San Francisco and announced it will be available for sale in the United States through AT&T and T-Mobile on April 26 at a base price of $1,980.

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Samsung described the device as a hybrid smartphone and tablet with a hidden series of interlocking gears that allows the device to fold from a 7.3-inch display when opened to a 4.6-inch display when closed.

"We created Galaxy Fold for those that want to experience what a premium foldable device can do, beyond the limitations of a traditional smartphone," DJ Koh, president and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics, said.

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The device features 512 GB of storage and 12 GB of RAM and Samsung said it worked with Google to allow apps to transition between the closed "phone" mode and the expanded "tablet" mode. The companies also worked together to allow apps to run simultaneously in tablet mode.

Other features include a camera with six lenses -- three in the back, two on the inside and one on the cover -- as well as two batteries split between the two sides of the device and an eventual 5G version.

Samsung also announced the latest in its primary Galaxy line of smartphones, the Galaxy S10. In addition to the standard S10, the company will also release an S10+ with improved tech and performance, a budget model known as the S10e and its first 5G device, the Galaxy S10 5G.

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Pricing begins at $899.99 for Galaxy S10, $999.99 for Galaxy S10+ and $749.99 for Galaxy S10e. No price was announced for the 5G version and preorders begin on Thursday exclusively through Verizon with a launch through AT&T, Spectrum Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile and Xfinity Mobile in the summer.

The S10 also features six cameras, as well as an AMOLED display and an Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner that reads the 3D contours of a user's physical thumbprint to unlock the device.

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In addition to the announcements, Samsung also launched three so-called Samsung Experience Stores in shopping centers in The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles; Roosevelt Field on Long Island in New York; and The Galleria in Houston.

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They are the company's first retail stores in the United States. Samsung already has a tech store in New York, but it sells no products. The new stores are expected to give Samsung a U.S. footing to challenge market leader Apple, which has dozens of physical stores in the United States and abroad.

"Our new Samsung Experience Stores are spaces to experience and see Samsung technology brought to life, to empower people to do what they never thought was possible before," Samsung America President and CEO YH Eom said. "We want to build a 'playground' for Samsung fans -- a place to learn about and try out all of the amazing new products we have to offer."

The company said the stores will allow customers to browse all the latest Samsung products, including Galaxy smartphones, tablets and wearables, as well as televisions and smart home devices. They will also offer customer support and assistance -- including walk-in repair -- for smartphones and other Samsung products.

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Samsung previously offered pop-up stores throughout the country to demonstrate new technology like virtual reality and opened a location known as Samsung 837 in New York where it also displayed new tech, but didn't offer products for sale.

In addition to offering the aforementioned services, similar to those found in Apple stores, the Samsung Experience Stores will provide spaces for customers to interact with the company's 4D Virtual Reality and play video games in its 4K gaming lounge.

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