Is it a phone or is it a tablet? The next big thing in phones may hark back to the days when phones flipped closed, as Samsung previews its folding phone.
If this year was all about proving how the smartphone camera could be the best it could be, next year might be about fiddling with the phone form-factor. We’ve heard hints and rumours about design changes all year long about what that would be, and there was even one suggesting we’d see an example of something new at Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro launch a few weeks ago.
We left that event without an answer about what future phones would look and feel like (though what was released there was pretty snazzy), but we didn’t have to wait too long, because someone has revealed something.
More specifically Samsung has revealed a phone with two sets of screens in a foldable design, building what appears to be a clamshell phone that reveals a big screen on the inside, but still offers a small screen on the outside.
The result is Samsung’s foldable phone, a not-yet-named handset that will likely be ranged under the “Galaxy” name and could be called the Galaxy X, relying on a technology Samsung calls “Infinity Flex Display”.
In essence, it’s two screens mapped to one body, with a large 7.3 inch foldable screen on the inside, and a smaller phone on the outside.
Infinity Flex doesn’t use glass like other phones, and Samsung has reportedly developed a new material that is both flexible and durable, while also leveraging an adhesive to keep the display elastic and folding regularly.
The intended result is a smartphone that goes from being phone-sized to tablet-sized, and all you have to do is fold it back up and stick it in your pocket.
“The foldable display lays the foundation for a new kind of mobile experience,” said DJ Koh, President and CEO of Samsung’s IT & Mobile division.
“We are excited to work with developers on this new platform to create new value for our customers,” he said. “We cannot wait to see where the technology and collaboration takes us.”
So when will we get this? The feeling will be sometime in 2019, though the product being shown by Samsung looked like it still carried some heft, and so is clearly still very much in the prototype stage.
As to whether that means Samsung will be able to prep it for a Mobile World Congress release in late February 2019 is anyone’s guess, but if we had to bet, we’d expect this closer to September as part of the Note range, because that big size would surely lend itself to Samsung’s S-Pen quite well.