If your phone don’t fold, you’re lame and old. That seems to be the message coming from the smartphone industry at the moment, which has been in a bit of a race competing to get the first foldy phones out. A fairly obscure company named Royole won the race last week, but now Samsung has foldily thrown its high-tech folding hat in the smart ring.
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(We should have said “entered the fold”, shouldn’t we? That would have been so much better. You’d have been like “God that’s good”.)
Samsung revealed - or semi-revealed - their new prototype handset at their Developers’ Conference in San Francisco. They’ve been teasing a folding model for about five years now, and here it is.
While this isn’t a finished device, and the eventual commercially available version will be different, they were showing off the Infinity Flex Display, the development of which included inventing brand new materials to make it out of. Interestingly, while Samsung high-ups demonstrated the phone on stage, nobody else at the event was given the chance to get their hands on it.
When open, the concept model is an 18.5cm tablet, but when folded, a second screen on the front makes it resemble a traditional smartphone.
Unlike the Royole FlexPai, the Samsung model lies completely flush when folded, but it appears to have noticeable breaks in the bezel as a result, rather than the FlexPai’s single unbroken surface.
DJ Koh, head of Samsung’s IT and mobile communications division, said: “The foldable display lays the foundation for a new kind of mobile experience.” A device running the Infinity Flex Display will supposedly be able to run three open apps at once.
An actually purchasable foldable phone should be available from Samsung in the next few months, and Google are optimistic that other companies will also be bringing out foldable Android devices - they are keen to work with as many developers as possible. Huawei are known to be working on a foldable phone, as are LG and Lenovo.
And any phone company that doesn’t compete? Well, it might just find itself… folding.
Thank you. Thank you.