The idea of a foldable smartphone is something that Samsung has been teasing for months at this point, but at its developer conference today, the company finally put its money where its mouth is by showing off what we’ve all been waiting for: a device that acts like a tablet but also folds up into a candy bar-like phone.
Samsung showed a prototype of the device off during the conference but remains secretive about just what it is. We know that the foldable screen technology used is called Infinity Flex Display, but Samsung is so keen to keep things close to its collective chest that the lights at the venue were dimmed when the device was shown in an attempt to keep parts of it secret. We’re not sure whether that was just theater or not, but it certainly worked.
As far as this new device is concerned, it’s expected to be available next year and features a 7.3-inch display when fully opened up, which makes it a small tablet. When closed, the screen size is 4.5-inch for use as smartphone. Three apps can run simultaneously thanks to what Samsung is calling multi active window and the really interesting news is that Google is also officially supporting these kinds of devices at a system level within Android.
The hope is that this will prevent Samsung having to add its own layers atop Android, bastardizing a feature into existence that Android was never designed for.
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
It’s still super early days for foldable technology like this and Samsung is not alone in giving it a try. Next year could be one of the most interesting yet if these foldable devices not only come to fruition but manage to live up to all the hype, too.
This is absolutely incredible pic.twitter.com/DsQ2jzwFnx
— Alex (@ImDiabetus) November 8, 2018
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