Samsung unveils 'Galaxy Fold,' its first foldable smartphone-tablet hybrid

PHOTO: The Samsung Galaxy Fold was unveiled, Feb. 20, 2019.PlaySamsung
WATCH Samsung unveils its first foldable phone

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Fold, a smartphone that fits into your pocket but unfolds into the size of a tablet, at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday.

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"We are fundamentally limited by the size of our devices, until now," Justin Denison, Samsung's senior vice president of marketing, told an audience of about 3,500 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. "You get a powerful smartphone and a revolutionary tablet" in one device.

The phone will allow users to switch between the folded and unfolded screens "with continuity," Denison added.

The Galaxy Fold will have two batteries and three-app multitasking. For instance, users will be able to use Google Maps, call a friend, and message someone on WhatsApp at the same time, Samsung exec Josh Kim told the crowd.

The device has a 4.6-inch display when folded as a phone and 7.3-inch display when unfolded as a tablet.

It will be available April 26, with prices starting at $1980, depending on region and carrier, and will come in an LTE or 5G option.

PHOTO: The Samsung Galaxy Fold was unveiled, Feb. 20, 2019. Samsung
The Samsung Galaxy Fold was unveiled, Feb. 20, 2019.
PHOTO: The Samsung Galaxy Fold was unveiled, Feb. 20, 2019. Samsung
The Samsung Galaxy Fold was unveiled, Feb. 20, 2019.

Execs at the event heralded a new era in a challenged smartphone market that has seen lagging sales. Apple shocked investors last year with a warning that it would sell far fewer iPhones than expected, with the effects rippling into the supply chain for iPhone components and causing a dramatic fall in the company's stock price. The stock has since recovered some of its losses. This past week, the company reshuffled its executive suite, most notably its retail division.

Against this challenging backdrop, Samsung execs painted a picture of unlimited possibility for its product line, while acknowledging growing consumer ennui.

The Galaxy Fold "breaks new ground because it defies skeptics. The smartphone is a new technology in a saturated market. We are here to prove them wrong. We are here to mark a new beginning," DJ Koh, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics, told the crowd.

"For those who say everything possible has already been done, get ready for the dawn of a new era," Koh added.

The New Galaxy 10S

In addition to the Fold, Samsung revealed four new Galaxy S10 phones, with prices starting at $749 for the S10e — the same price as Apple's most "affordable" newest iPhone, the XR. Preorders begin Feb. 21.

The new Galaxy line starts with 128GB of storage and is water-resistant, working in water up to 5 feet deep for up to 30 minutes.

There will be a 6.7-inch display Galaxy S10 5G for sale later this year. Samsung did not disclose a date.

PHOTO: The wireless power charging feature for the new Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphones is demonstrated during a product preview in San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 19, 2019. Eric Risberg/AP
The wireless power charging feature for the new Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphones is demonstrated during a product preview in San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 19, 2019.

The new Galaxy line features an in-display 3D fingerprint scanner. The camera features an ultra-wide lens, digital stabilization and more AI technology to increase "smart" features on the camera for better shots.

Samsung also released Wireless PowerShare, enabling Qi-certified smartphone devices to charge wirelessly on the backs of other S10 phones.

The lowest-priced Galaxy, the S10e, which features a 5.8-inch screen, is a response to the iPhone XR at $749.

PHOTO: The new Samsung Galaxy S10, the S10+ and the S10e during a product preview in San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 19, 2019. Eric Risberg/AP
The new Samsung Galaxy S10, the S10+ and the S10e during a product preview in San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 19, 2019.

The Galaxy S10 features a 6.1-inch display and starts at $899.99. The Galaxy S10+, has a 6.4-inch screen and will start at $999.99.

Customers who pre-order the S10 or S10+ by March 7 will receive free Galaxy Buds, which otherwise cost $129.99.

Analysts had mixed reactions to the new product line.

"It's not exciting. It's not anything that's going to make me say, 'I really need to ditch this piece of garbage. They're just upping the ante on memory, on processing speed," Tuong Nguyen, an analyst at the research firm Gartner, told ABC News. "Right now multiple vendors are...expecting the market to slow down because people aren't replacing or upgrading devices and I don't think this is going to change that."

However, Nguyen's colleague, Werner Goertz, had the opposite reaction.

Samsung "kills it on consumer apps like mapping and content consumption," Goertz tweeted from the event.

ABC News' Annie Pong contributed to this report.