The first day of Samsung’s annual developer conference in San Francisco saw the South Korean tech major make a slew of announcements, including the first look at its foldable phone. If that was not enough, Samsung also showcased a refreshed take on its Android skin, now called One UI, slated to release in January 2019. The company is also opening up its Bixby voice-assistant to third-party developers in a bid to better compete with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Here’s a recap of everything Samsung announced on the first day of its annual developer conference.
The rumours about a foldable phone were true after all. At the developer conference, Samsung finally showcased a foldable phone which it plans to bring to the market early next year. The new device is essentially a tablet that converts into a smartphone when folded. This has been made possible because of Samsung’s breakthrough “Infinity Flex Display” which allows long-term use without any screen degradation. Not much is known about Samsung’s foldable phone, but we do know that it has a 7.3-inch primary screen and a 4.6-inch screen that can be used while folded. The phone is also able to run three apps simultaneously and when it comes to the look, the phone does look a lot thicker compared to the Galaxy S9 or iPhone XS. The foldable smartphone will use the all-new One UI designed for one-handed use. Despite many calling it the Galaxy X or Galaxy F, the actual name or at what price it will be launched is not known. Hopefully, we will learn more about Samsung’s much-hyped foldable phone early next year.
Samsung has redesigned its smartphone user interface, as it adopts a new minimalistic approach with One UI. For years consumers have complained about the user interface on Samsung smartphones and now the company has finally adopted a much clean and minimal design. The core focus here is on keeping the most relevant content towards the bottom of the screen; even menus pop-up on the bottom of the screen instead of centre. Samsung claims the new user interface is designed for one-handed use which makes sense – after all, the phones are getting bigger. The One UI also introduces a system-wide night mode. Samsung said it will open a beta test on Android 9.0 Pie for selected devices starting this month in China, France, Germany, India, Poland, South Korea, Spain, UK, and the US. The Galaxy S9, S9+ and Note 9 will be updated to the One UI interface, based on Android 9.0 Pie starting in January 2019.
At last, Samsung is opening up its Bixby voice-based assistant to third-party developers, allowing them to create custom voice commands. Samsung is launching the Bixby Developer Studio, a set of tools to create Bixby services (or “Bixby Capsules”) that will be available to consumers in the Bixby marketplace. The company also announced that Bixby will understand more languages, including Italian, Spanish, and French, starting next year. Bixby has lagged behind the competition in comparison to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri, which is the reason why Samsung is opening up its personal voice-assistant to developers.