Samsung reveals foldable smartphone that unfurls into a tablet computer

8 Nov 20181.43k Views

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Image: © Brian/Stock.adobe.com

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The future is foldable.

Samsung has unveiled its Infinity Flex Display foldable smartphone that doubles as a tablet computer.

While the precise elements of the design are still hush-hush, the device starts out as a chocolate-bar-shaped smartphone that runs Android and that opens out into a 7.3in display tablet computer.

In a testament to the nanotech era of electronics in which we now belong, the foldable device can run three apps simultaneously. In recent weeks, we pointed out how the majority of smartphone makers are now pumping out devices that sport 7nm processors, a new record for the industry.

Samsung said that the idea was born from the company’s Galaxy S6, S7 and Note Edge devices that first featured curved screens. This evolved and the Infinity Flex Display technology used in the foldable device was first featured on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus in 2017.

Mass production of foldable phones to begin in 2019

Samsung said that it will be able to start mass production of its Infinity Flex Display technology in the coming months. A big question will be whether Samsung will have the devices ready in time for Mobile World Congress in February 2019.

“To make the screen more pliable without breaking it, we replaced the backplane of the AMOLED display with a flexible material called polyimide and developed our own 3D thermoforming technology to shape the top protective glass layer of the display,” Samsung said.

It continued: “Using the flexible display technology, we took a further step to minimise the bezel around the display. By extending and bending the panel, we were able to place the key components that used to be in the frontside of the device to the backside of the display. By doing so, we were able to create the Infinity Display, which allowed us to increase the display size without having to increase the dimensions of the device.”

Samsung said that since glass is not pliable, it developed a new material for the cover window that is flexible and durable. It also found a unique adhesive that enhances the display’s elasticity.

“Along with hardware development, we also created a new user experience to maximise the groundbreaking form factor. The app experience seamlessly transitions from the smaller display to the larger display as the device unfolds.

“In addition, users can browse, watch, connect and multitask without losing a beat, simultaneously using up to three active apps on the larger display.”

samsung infographic detailing how foldable phones came to be.

Infographic: Samsung

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com