Samsung's 'Infinity Flex Display' demo shows future of foldable smartphones

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in General Discussion
Samsung has revealed a prototype flexible display at its developer conference in San Francisco, with the demonstration of the "Infinity Flex Display" allowing for a tablet-sized mobile device to be folded in half to the size of a smartphone.

Samsung's folding 'Infinity Flex Display' prototype (via The Verge)
Samsung's folding "Infinity Flex Display" prototype (via The Verge)


Teased for weeks and unveiled at Wednesday's Samsung Developer Conference, the Infinity Flex Display potentially allows for the creation of a mobile device that is the size of a tablet, but can be resized by the user depending on their needs. The on-stage demonstration for the prototype showed the device was able to be folded in half, with the screen ending up inside the fold.

According to photographs from The Verge, the folded device has an extra display on the outside, allowing it to be used as a standard smartphone. The stage itself was dimmed to protect the design of the prototype from being analyzed, other than the folding and secondary screen, but it is evident by the large bezels of both displays that it is a prototype and not a finished product.

An infographic produced by Samsung advises the tablet screen is 7.3 inches in size when unfolded, but did not disclose the second screen's size. Samsung also developed a new material for the cover window to allow it to be "flexible and durable," paired with an adhesive that "enhances the display's elasticity" and retains its strength through multiple folding and unfolding instances.

To take advantage of the form factor, Samsung has also come up with a new user interface that can transition between the larger and smaller displays on folding or unfolding. It is also claimed up to three active apps can be used on the larger display at the same time, but it is unclear how many will remain usable when the device is folded and activity switches to the smaller screen.

Samsung did not advise when the first smartphone using the display will be available, but it is claimed the South Korean tech giant can start mass production of the Infinity Flex Display "in a matter of months."

A foldable smartphone has been rumored to be in development by Samsung for a number of years, in a variety of different forms. It won't be the first to market with a foldable display device, however, as the Royole FlexPai was made available for preorder in China on November 1 with anticipated deliveries to customers starting in December.

Apple has been linked to the development of its own foldable devices, with rumors claiming LG is working with the iPhone producer on the concept. Analysts have also suggested the possibility of an iPhone with a foldable display launching as soon as 2020.

There's also a number of patents and applications relating to folding displays and devices that have been produced by Apple, including hinged devices and wrap-around displays, stretchy substrates for attaching components together in a flexible device, and enabling force gesture controls on such hardware.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 76
    Looks like they're answering the "how?" without first answering the "why?". This is one of the things Apple competitors and pundits struggle to grasp. Throwing a bunch of "how" against the wall will never compete will a well-thought-out "why".


    mike1lolliversphericrandominternetpersonrepressthiswatto_cobraargonautMuntzkdjohn3evilution
  • Reply 2 of 76
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,787member
    Looks like they're answering the "how?" without first answering the "why?". This is one of the things Apple competitors and pundits struggle to grasp. Throwing a bunch of "how" against the wall will never compete will a well-thought-out "why".


    You didn't get the why?

    Making your mini tablet occupy half the screen space and turning it into a phone or vice versa.

    The 'why' is crystal clear. I currently use an iPad Mini 2 and a smartphone. This solution, somewhere down the road, would serve both uses on one device and have a screen protector built in for the tablet.

    Or course, pricing, weight and battery life will be important obstacles to overcome. And durability of course.
    edited November 7 muthuk_vanalingammocseg
  • Reply 3 of 76
    I could be wrong but looking at the perspective, it seems a lot of content would end up with black bars along the top and bottom so you end up with the opposite problem that most tall phones have these days. Regardless, whoever can execute this well, will have a very interesting device. It seems like this would be the most logical future form factor if the price/performance/thickness is right.
  • Reply 4 of 76
    Wake me when this is a real shipping product.
    anantksundaramravnorodomrandominternetpersonrepressthisargonautMuntzjony0
  • Reply 5 of 76
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,380member
    avon b7 said:
    Looks like they're answering the "how?" without first answering the "why?". This is one of the things Apple competitors and pundits struggle to grasp. Throwing a bunch of "how" against the wall will never compete will a well-thought-out "why".


    You didn't get the why?

    Making your mini tablet occupy half the screen space and turning it into a phone or vice versa.

    The 'why' is crystal clear. I currently use an iPad Mini 2 and a smartphone. This solution, somewhere down the road, would serve both uses on one device and have a screen protector built in for the tablet.

    Or course, pricing, weight and battery life will be important obstacles to overcome. And durability of course.
    How wonderful that instead of having two devices that can be idealized for each specific use you can have one device that is heavier and takes up more volume than an iPhone and iPad mini 2 combined and can only be used by one person. Gee, I can't wait until Samsung comes out with a gaming notebook that doubles as an MP3 player I can attach to my arm whilst jogging¡

    This reminds me of MS' Surface's "No Compromise" for a device that was only compromises.
    edited November 7 lolliverrandominternetpersonrepressthiswatto_cobraargonautMuntzStrangeDaystmayjony0
  • Reply 6 of 76
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,112member
    Material fatigue is going to be a challenge.
    chialolliverSpamSandwichMplsPchasmrepressthiswatto_cobraargonautMuntzcrosslad
  • Reply 7 of 76
    As many sites have reported, the screen isn’t very bright and they showed it in dim lighting. I wonder why?

    I’m absolutely convinced you’ll be able to see the fold, which I think will piss people off. I’m also convinced it will feel “flimsy”. Two things people won’t accept in an expensive device. 
    chialolliverravnorodomrepressthiswatto_cobraargonautMuntzjony0
  • Reply 8 of 76
    Won't distorting a battery create the risk of explosion?

    And, coming from Samsung, the master of exploding phones, it might be a slight cause for worry.
    macplusplusSpamSandwichwatto_cobraargonautMuntz
  • Reply 9 of 76
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,380member
    Won't distorting a battery create the risk of explosion?

    And, coming from Samsung, the master of exploding phones, it might be a slight cause for worry.
    Despite what The Verge stated, I would assume that the battery is not foldable, but on one side or both sides of the device with connectors for power passing along the fold, like with a laptop.
    ravnorodomrepressthiswatto_cobraargonautjony0
  • Reply 10 of 76
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,755member
    I like the technology tremendously. A roll up high definition TV or monitor. Lots of wearable potential. If you made a full body suit from this flexible material and had multiple cameras on all sides could this not be used to form a cloaking device. Or maybe just upgrade your appearance. Full face video bag. Hmmm. Maybe something simpler, like window shades that always show a bright and sunny image on the inside regardless of the actual weather. 
    edited November 7 watto_cobraargonautjdgaz
  • Reply 11 of 76
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,337member
    Soli said:
    Won't distorting a battery create the risk of explosion?

    And, coming from Samsung, the master of exploding phones, it might be a slight cause for worry.
    Despite what The Verge stated, I would assume that the battery is not foldable, but on one side or both sides of the device with connectors for power passing along the fold, like with a laptop.
    Exactly. Interesting to see if it ever ends up in a real product.
    ravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 76
    dewme said:
    I like the technology tremendously. A roll up high definition TV or monitor. Lots of wearable potential. If you made a full body suit from this flexible material and had multiple cameras on all sides could this not be used to form a cloaking device. Or maybe just upgrade your appearance. Full face video bag. Hmmm. Maybe something simpler, like window shades that always show a bright and sunny image on the inside regardless of the actual weather. 
    Or shades that show you clouds and rain if you know you need to stay in and work/clean/study. 

    Anyway, I'm still waiting for windows that produce solar electricity.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 76
    They’ve created an option that no one asked for or particularly wants. 
    watto_cobraMuntzSpamSandwichStrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 76
    I like the concept. bu5t this is Android, and made by Samsung, so no. But I do like the concept. dewme said:
    I like the technology tremendously. A roll up high definition TV or monitor. Lots of wearable potential. If you made a full body suit from this flexible material and had multiple cameras on all sides could this not be used to form a cloaking device. Or maybe just upgrade your appearance. Full face video bag. Hmmm. Maybe something simpler, like window shades that always show a bright and sunny image on the inside regardless of the actual weather. 
    I agree with the idea of a roll up screen. A device with the screen the size of the XS-Max that would roll up into something the size of a cigar. Have to figure out the battery and circuit board arrangement, but I really like the idea.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 76
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,755member
    dewme said:
    I like the technology tremendously. A roll up high definition TV or monitor. Lots of wearable potential. If you made a full body suit from this flexible material and had multiple cameras on all sides could this not be used to form a cloaking device. Or maybe just upgrade your appearance. Full face video bag. Hmmm. Maybe something simpler, like window shades that always show a bright and sunny image on the inside regardless of the actual weather. 
    Or shades that show you clouds and rain if you know you need to stay in and work/clean/study. 

    Anyway, I'm still waiting for windows that produce solar electricity.
    Or a skull cap that perfectly conforms to your head. You could then visualize whatever hair style, hair color, texture, etc., you want. This could be the ultimate coverup for male pattern baldness and graying. No more embarrassing combovers or botched hair styling experiments. The revenue potential from male pattern baldness coverups alone could dwarf worldwide smartphone sales. 
    chiawatto_cobraargonautStrangeDays
  • Reply 16 of 76
    dewme said:
    I like the technology tremendously. A roll up high definition TV or monitor. Lots of wearable potential. If you made a full body suit from this flexible material and had multiple cameras on all sides could this not be used to form a cloaking device. Or maybe just upgrade your appearance. Full face video bag. Hmmm. Maybe something simpler, like window shades that always show a bright and sunny image on the inside regardless of the actual weather. 
    I want my entire car covered with flexy display. So I can change color and style every day. 
    dewmechiawatto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 17 of 76
    dewme said:
    I like the technology tremendously. A roll up high definition TV or monitor. Lots of wearable potential. If you made a full body suit from this flexible material and had multiple cameras on all sides could this not be used to form a cloaking device. Or maybe just upgrade your appearance. Full face video bag. Hmmm. Maybe something simpler, like window shades that always show a bright and sunny image on the inside regardless of the actual weather. 
    I want my entire car covered with flexy display. So I can change color and style every day. 
    Yes rob the bank, Drive off, around the first corner, change the appearance of the car. I like it.
    ravnorodomwatto_cobracanukstorm
  • Reply 18 of 76
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,255member
    bluefire1 said:
    They’ve created an option that no one asked for or particularly wants. 
    Watch WESTWORLD. They use foldable devices to great advantage. You state "no one" wants this, yet there's a whole very popular TV series which demonstrates the use cases perfectly. Somebody clearly wants this, and there's clearly good reason for it as showcased by this series. I'm always astounded how some on these forums will completely discount an idea, just because Apple isn't demonstrating the concept first ... 
    muthuk_vanalingamavon b7mocseg
  • Reply 19 of 76
    What’s Samsung’s motivation for showing of a prototype like this?  What do they get out of it?
    watto_cobraMuntz
  • Reply 20 of 76
    mac_128 said:
    bluefire1 said:
    They’ve created an option that no one asked for or particularly wants. 
    Watch WESTWORLD. They use foldable devices to great advantage. You state "no one" wants this, yet there's a whole very popular TV series which demonstrates the use cases perfectly. Somebody clearly wants this, and there's clearly good reason for it as showcased by this series. I'm always astounded how some on these forums will completely discount an idea, just because Apple isn't demonstrating the concept first ... 
    It's the clear devices that Sci-fi shows love that I don't understand. Sure, it's a useful dramatic tool (and the prop designers are probably drooling) so the audience can see what the character is seeing, but that's also the problem. Everybody can see what you're doing!
    chiawatto_cobrarandominternetperson
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