« What if the smartphone screen could change size? » That’s the question Samsung is trying to answer with the development of its Infinity Flex Display, the flexible screen that the company’s folding smartphone has shown at the Samsung Develper Conference (SDC).
Samsung’s foldable mobile actually has two screens: a fixed-size screen and a flexible screen that, when opened like a book, has a size of 7.3 inches; a size close to that of a small tablet.
Since glass can’t be folded, Samsung explains, a new resistant and flexible material has been developed to cover the screen. Deployed Samsung’s flexphone can run up to three applications simultaneously. « Samsung’s Infinity Flex screen is a foretaste of the future of mobile screens, » says Samsung.
When the mobile is « closed », the secondary screen comes into operation, located on what would be the cover of the folding mobile. The model shown by Samsung during the SDC is a prototype, and it doesn’t look like it will announce any commercial model until late 2019, at the earliest.
Android will formally support flexible screens
Meanwhile and coinciding with the presentation of the Infinity Flex screen Google has announced that Android will formally support mobile phones with flexible screens, with screens that answer Samsung’s question and that can change size.
According to Google, Android for flexible screens will adapt in real time to the size of the screen at any given time. For example, » Android Developers explain in the blog, « the user will be able to start a video with the screen folded, and if later he wants a more immersive experience, he only has to deploy the device to obtain a larger screen: as the screen is deployed, the application adapts to the new screen size without interruptions ».
Several manufacturers are developing flexible mobiles
Samsung’s is not the first attempt to materialize a foldable mobile device. Microsoft tried it ten years ago with Courier, a tablet with two screens of about 7 inches each that also opened and closed like a book.
More recently the almost unknown Royole showed her prototype of a foldable tablet called FlexPai and several companies from LG to Huawei have anticipated their intention to explore such devices. In fact LG already has a flexible Oled panel, which can be folded and even rolled up.
It remains to be seen, however, that this foldable screens in mobile phones result in useful and practical devices and do not end up being an ephemeral fashion as they were in their day 3D televisions or curved screen. But flexible screens undoubtedly open up new possibilities, many of which have yet to be explored.