Folding smartphones are on the way, and Samsung is leading the charge. At the company’s developer conference in San Francisco today the Samsung offered a sneak peek at its very first such device: The Infinity Flex Display.
When folded, it looks like a normal smartphone. Unfolded, it’s a tablet with a 7.3 inch screen.
Samsung’s first folding phone is the result of years of research and numerous innovations. Samsung had to develop a protective polymer that’s both tough and bendable as well as a flexible adhesive to hold the display’s layers together.
When it’s closed, the device operates in smartphone mode and appears to be roughly the same size as the Galaxy Note 9 (albeit in a much clunkier chassis). Unfold it and it automatically switches to tablet mode.
Interestingly there appear to be two screens: an external display that you interact with when using the device as a pone, and a larger internal display for tablet functionality. When you fold the phone in half, the tablet-sized screen folds in on itself and the phone screen turns on.
According to an image from a Samsung presentation captured by CNET’s Shara Tibken, the 7.3 inch flexible display has a resolution of 1,536 x 2,152 pixels and an aspect ratio of 4.2:3, while the external screen is a 4.58 inch, 21:9 display with a resolution of 840 x 1,960 pixels.
Samsung didn’t offer many details about what tablet mode will let you do that phone mode does not, but the company did mention additional multitasking features. You’ll be able to run three apps side-by-side in tablet mode, for example.
It’s a phone… It’s a tablet… It’s a phone that unfolds into a tablet! #SDC18 pic.twitter.com/FgwpJPjqTn
— SAMSUNG DEVELOPERS (@samsung_dev) November 7, 2018
No launch date was announced for the device and Samsung didn’t mention a name. Samsung VP Justin Dennison did say that the company would begin mass-producing it sometime in “the coming months.” It’s expected to arrive early in 2019.
MWC 2019 is slated for February 25 and 28, 2019, so it’s possible the retail version of this device could make an appearance in Barcelona.
Samsung has also been working closely with Google to ensure that Android will be ready to handle devices with flexible screens when they arrive. By the time hardware arrives in stores, you can expect updated Android apps to automatically adapt to the change in modes.
In a blog post, Google explains that Android will support an entire new category of “foldables,” including dual-screen devices and devices with a single flexible display like the Samsung Infinity Flex. In Google’s vision, users will be able to “seamlessly” transition from smartphone views to tablet views when a device is unfolded.
this is old news the ipad pro already folds
Nice. Have been waiting for something like that for years and it is encouraging to see that it might finally come to fruition. Just having one device for phone / tablet / laptop is definitely a plus in my minimalist book.
I don’t want something smartphone-sized that folds out to something tablet-sized–I want something filp-phone-sized that folds out to something smartphone-sized!
It does rather look like the next gen of phones in the making – and more practical use than a 5mm ‘edge’ display or 100MP cameras.
You can carry a phone and a tablet in your pocket in one device, and use the same Sim!
Now, if only they can make one with a replaceable battery, so you won’t have to renew the phone when the battery wears out (and folding phones weren’t going to be waterproof anyway) ……
Nah, I rather a Touch 3D Hologram watch to supercede our current smart/superphones.
Why would you make the external display just 4.58” instead of a more normal 6” ?
Er… Because the phone opens out into a 7 inch display? !!! (- and the phone will fit in your shorts pocket without bulging out, of course!).
A iphone-4 size front screen would be enough for basic uses, control your music, take photos, and make phone calls while the big screen is there for browsing and watching video and social media etc, – in fact you might even make that small screen e-ink and give the phone a substatial battery life.
Neat. This is something that I’m happy to be a curious observer for the first generation or two.
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