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Samsung joins the fold with Galaxy Z Flip smartphone

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San Francisco (AFP)

Samsung on Tuesday unveiled its second folding smartphone, a "Z Flip" handset with a lofty price tag aimed at "trendsetters."

The smartphone flips open, like a pocket cosmetics case, opening into a 6.7-inch screen.

Ultrathin glass used for the screen can be folded and unfolded more than 200,000 times and resists scratches, according to Samsung.

The Galaxy Z Flip will be available beginning Friday at a starting price of $1,380, head of Samsung product marketing in Rebecca Hirst said at a San Francisco unveiling.

"It changes everything -- space, size, and the very way we use it," Hirst said as she held a Z Flip in the palm of a hand.

"The Z Flip is a statement smartphone; it is for trendsetters and trailblazers."

When closed, the Z Flip displays notifications such as time and phone calls, and can still be used to take photos.

The new device comes amid growing interest in folding handsets, and a similar "flip" Razr device recently introduced by Motorola.

Samsung launched its first foldable handset, the Galaxy Fold, in September after faulty screens forced an embarrassing delay of the release of the $2,000 device.

Folding smartphones have been introduced by Chinese makers Huawei and Royole.

- New 5G handset -

Samsung also introduced a new Galaxy S 20 Ultra flagship model for its lineup of smartphones synched to new 5G telecommunication networks.

"5G will completely change how we communicate, how we game, and how we engage with the world around us," Samsung head of US mobile product management Drew Blackard said during the presentation.

"This is the year of Galaxy 5G, and it begins right here with the Galaxy S 20."

Galaxy S 20 models boast high definition 8K quality camera capabilities, and the Ultra model zoom magnifies views up to 100 times, according to demonstrations.

Galaxy S 20 5G models have a starting price of $999 and will be released on March 6, according to the South Korean electronics giant, which has been at or near the top of the smartphone market in recent years.

Samsung also announced new collaborations with streaming television titan Netflix and Xbox video game console maker Microsoft.

"We believe this is a significant partnership that will provide millions of Samsung users around the globe the best entertainment experience," said Netflix chief marketing officer Jackie Lee-Joe.

"Great stories come from anywhere and should be loved everywhere."

Netflix will be providing Samsung S 20 phones to creators of some of its original shows to make content for the global streaming platform.

An Xbox car racing game, "Forza Street," has been tailored for play on S 20 phones, according to Samsung.

"This is just the beginning of or gaming partnership with Xbox," said head of US mobile channel marketing David Park.

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