Futuristic, flexible tablets and smart phones have captured our imagination for years. Whether folding plates are present Westworld or many books like folders with foldable pages in Microsoft's future video, the phone that folds into a much larger device is a dream. Samsung is now trying to make these wild concepts a reality.
Galaxy Maker yesterday demonstrated its new Infinity Flex display, a screen technology that will allow the tablet-sized screen to overlay a device that is approximate to the size and shape of the smartphone. While we saw flexible and flexible carrying devices, this was one of the first time we saw such a screen in the phone rumored to ship in 2019. Samsung's device is "disguised" for what appears to be a piece of case and only shown under dimmed light, but far beyond conceptual art.
Samsung actually uses two separate screens to create its folding phone – one inside and smaller outside display – unlike Royole's FlexPai, which uses a folding screen on the outside of the device. Samsung's internal screen is 7.3 inches with a resolution of 1536 x 2152 (4.2: 3). Slowly slides to reveal another screen on the front of the device. This second "cover", as Samsung calls it, functions as a 4.58-inch 840 x 1960 (21: 9) phone interface. It also has larger frames at the top and bottom as compared to the internal screen. Although it looks very dumb, Samsung says the device concealed inside concealment is actually "astonishing."
This screen combination gave us an early insight into what we can expect from retractable phones in 2019 and beyond. As the glass is not flexible, Samsung has had to develop new materials to protect its new screen. The Infinity Flex Display uses a polymer that Samsung says is "flexible and tough," meaning it can retain its power even when folded and exposed "hundreds of thousands of times". Samsung combines this with a new glue that laminates different screen layers together to allow bending. Nothing was glass, so it could feel a bit different from what we're used to with modern phones, tablets and touchpads.
Just as smart phones started with a plastic counter screen and ceiling entry, before the iPhone demonstrated that capacitive touchscreen was the future, this folding period will include compromises before advancing technology. Samsung's device, while it could be pocket-sized, did not look particularly slim compared to modern smartphones. Frames folded for use as a phone are also giant compared to modern end-of-life combat ships, and the folding screen Samsung has chosen makes the device high when it is closed.
"Foldable phones are the 3D TV mobile world," they announced Wall Street Journal tech columnist Christopher Mims on Twitter, Samsung, LG, and many other TV makers have been pushing 3D TVs to consumers on various annual releases of the Consumer Electronics Show, but they never really did. They have seen them as a trick to sell more than 1080p TVs, without a top-notch look. Not everyone agrees that folding phones will stop, though.
"Several are discussed" if "foldable or mobile mobile displays represent the future of smartphones, the only question is when and who," explains Patrick Moorhead, industry analyst Moor Insights and former AMD executive director. "The main advantage of folding smartphones is that the user can benefit from a larger screen, but it can still fit into a pocket, coat or purse."
In 2011, the large 5.3-inch display on Galaxy Note met with guffaws in tech circles. Today we just called phablets, telephones. Similarly, the curved display on the extremely ridiculous Galaxy Note Edge and Galaxy Round finally turned into Infinity displays that were found in the Samsung's contemporary S-series of the most prominent. If compelling phones follow a similar trip, Samsung's first device will not fully capture design potential – instead, it will mark the beginning of a new battle over this interesting display technology.
"This is not just a concept," says Justin Denison, Marketing Manager of Samsung's Mobile Product. "The screens we made in display materials have been adapted to breakthroughs in production. As a result, we will be ready to begin mass production in the coming months."
The emergence of mass production means that device manufacturers can choose this screen just as they are already working with Samsung's OLED boards. Huawei allegedly plans to release the bulk handsets next year. Lenovo and Xiaomi are also teasing their prototypes, and LG is also working on its flexible OLED screen and televisions turning into a box. The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in January could be the initial battlefield for folding devices, driven by the official support of Android for folding screens.
Google support will be crucial because this type of new form factor will require close connection of hardware and software. Samsung creates its own Multi Active Window program that will enable its folding phone to simultaneously display three applications. Multitasking is just one aspect of software, and Samsung, along with Google, needs to optimize the entire Android UI and experience this type of device. Apple has traditionally enjoyed the integration of hardware and software. In fact, there are rumors that folding iPhone may appear in the next two years.
Folding phones are obviously the initial market of this screen technology, but manufacturers will become far more ambitious with regard to display technology. Samsung has in the future also promised OLl displays and stretchers. Imagine folding or rolling a 55-inch TV into something that will fit in your bag or finally replace a pencil and a foldable tablet paper. It sounds incredible right now, but we are just at the very beginning of our flexible future.