Samsung has shown off a working prototype of a foldable smartphone during the company’s annual developer conference in San Francisco. While the much-hyped device was not fully unveiled to protect design elements, the company did tease what a foldable mobile device would look like in the near future. This is the first time Samsung has extensively talked about a foldable phone, after years of speculation and rumours.
Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer, says the foldable display “lays the foundation for a new kind of mobile experience”. The handset, which has the Infinity Flex Display, will come with a tablet-like form factor, with a 7.3-inch (1536×2152) main display that closes like a book. When folded, users will be able to see a 4.6-inch screen on the outside. This 4.6-inch screen has a resolution of 1960 x 840 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. Samsung said that its foldable phone, which doesn’t have a final name or design yet, will go into production within a few months and will start selling sometime early next year.
During the opening keynote, Samsung revealed little about how a foldable phone will work; even the spec sheet is unknown for now. However, the South Korean major did mention that a foldable phone will support three apps at the same time, taking advantage of a few feature called Multi-Active Window. The next-generation smartphone also comes with a new continuity feature which allows apps running on the outer display or “cover display” to expand to a 7.3-inch screen when the device is unfolded.
Samsung won’t be the only smartphone manufacturer plans to release a foldable smartphone in the near future. A slew of manufacturers, including Huawei and LG are already working on foldable smartphones. In fact, Google on Wednesday said that its Android mobile OS will officially support foldable smartphones. By offering support to OEMs, the manufacturers can now work on the next-generation foldable phones without worrying about modifying Android to fit the screen size.
We just announced support for foldables at #AndroidDevSummit, a new form factor coming next year from Android partners.
Android apps run seamlessly as the device folds, achieving this form factor’s chief feature: screen continuity. pic.twitter.com/NAfOmCOY26
— Android Developers (@AndroidDev) November 7, 2018