At the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) in San Francisco, we had our first glimpse of the Samsung foldable phone, which is going to be the first major folding phone whose technology is pretty much production-ready. This was widely anticipated since September

The phone’s exact shape was hidden into a boxy case, but Samsung has demonstrated that its folding technology was operational and ready for commercial debuts in real smartphones. Justin Denison, SVP of mobile product marketing, who unveiled the device said about the real design: “it is stunning.”

Samsung’s foldable phone actually has two displays (and not three as previously thought): one that functions when the phone is closed, and the foldable display that folds out to turn the device into a 7.3” tablet, just like we expected.

The external display, or cover display

The foldable screen is called Infinity Flex Display. Technically, the device seems like a final proof of concept, and it’s not clear when it will debut, although Justin Denison mentioned “the next [Samsung] Unpacked” event, which might happen around the MWC conference in late February, which is in-line with reports of a Q2 2019 launch, perhaps at a price of $1800 some say.

On-stage, Google endorsed the idea of foldable displays, and presenting the Android APIs available for these, it is only a matter of time (months, we think) before the first device appears. Foldable displays offer real opportunities in terms of user interface and productivity, and several use cases, including running one app per screen, have been integrated into the Android code, already.

Interestingly, Samsung pointed out that folding displays are not the only option they are working on, and rollable or even stretchable ones are viable possibilities that seem to have been successfully explored.

Incredibly, the foldable screen appears perfectly flat and seamless, and Samsung says that it has to overcome a great many hurdles to make it work in the real world, with hundreds of thousands of fold/unfold cycles.

With this kind of technology, the size of the display is no longer tied to the size of the (folded) device. It’s been a long time coming, and Samsung’s efforts for the past decade have paid off. It’s not clear when competitors will follow suit, but this will be the beginning of a new era for industrial design and mobile productivity. You can watch the whole stream with the link below:

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