Samsung has always been the leader when it comes to display technology and in manufacturing in an advert published in 2013 more than 5 years ago teased us what the foldable AMOLED technology could mean for its future Smartphones.
Samsung at its 2018 developer conference, 5 years later, gave a glimpse of what future of large screen portable smartphones may look like .Samsung showcased its timeline of innovation in Super AMOLED screens achieved by curving or bending the screens towards the edges to incorporate more screen in the same form factor which was introduced for the first time in the Galaxy s6 edge
The display connector took a lot of space in the bottom bezel of the phone , So Samsung had to come up with a new strategy to increase the size of the screen while keeping a similar form factor of the preceding phones which meant reduction in the bottom and the top bezel. To achieve that they pushed up the cameras, sensors and the speaker grill to the top edge of the smartphone, Next by extending the polyimide layer and curving it behind the display to achieve narrower top and bottom bezels calling it the Infinity Display, which was introduced in the Galaxy S8 lineup.
Further they showcased the upcoming infinity-U, infinity-V , infinity-O and the New Infinity display which may will appear in the future lineup of the Galaxy range of smartphones
But the main showstopper for which everyone were waiting for the foldable display, Samsungs vision for new generation of smartphones. The Infinity Flex Display. The Foldable Smartphone.
The stage was taken by the senior vice president of mobile marketing division of Samsung, Justin Denison and after playing a brief clip of the foldable phone he pulled out what everyone was waiting for.
And there it was, A phone that could easily rest in your palm and fit inside your pocket with a 4 inch display which could be unfolded into a 7.3 inch tablet. But would someone actually need such a device ? what is the vision with this product?
“The infinity flex display represents an entirely new mobile platform we have always stride towards bringing meaningful breakthroughs but despite all that progress we have been living in a world where the screen can only be as large as the device itself, well we have added a new dimension to help you browse, watch, connect and multitask like never before, the infinity flex display is the foundation for Smartphone of tomorrow”- Justin Denison, SVP mobile Marketing Division Samsung, explaining Samsungs vision with the new folding form factor.
The Cover Display will be 4.58 inches and will have a 21:9 aspect ratio. it has a resolution of 840×1960, with a screen density of 420 ppi.
The Main Display will be 7.3 inches and will have a 4.2:3 aspect ratio. According to Samsung says the resolution is 1536×2152, with a screen density of 420 ppi.
To achieve such bending Samsung had to build new materials and reimagine the display from ground up the underlying display components and the top layer of solid glass. Now because top glass layer is inflexible Samsung had to replace it with something that mimics glass and has the same benefits with a new Advanced Polymer that is flexible and tough.
The next challenge was that the displays were static and once the components were aligned to form a screen they never had to move to overcome that they had to invent a new Foldable Adhesive that will keep the components together through the process of folding and unfolding the display hundreds and thousands of times.
The final challenge- For the phone for being able to bend the screen needs to be extremely thin, to achieve that they reduced the thickness of the polarizer which is a layer that filters the direct sunlight hitting the display and reduces glare to make the screen readable.
Samsung also presented how these flexible displays can be used in completely different form factors namely infolding , out folding, rollable and stretchable forms.
The software side:
Samsung in partnership with Google has worked on a new android platform so that future foldable/flexible phones called “Foldables” and can be supported by AndroidOS Samsung as always developed its own iteration of android calling it the OneUI which is the future UX for Samsung’s smartphones running on Android Pie
The OneUI works through 2 displays when the smartphone is in the folded form it works as a normal touchscreen phone and when you require a bigger screen you can just unfold the phone to reveal the full screen display
And with app continuity, the app used while the device is in the folded form is right there when you unfold the phone, a continuous experience between the cover display and the main display
The large display will enable users to run 3 apps simultaneously by just dragging and dropping the apps from side to side. Bringing a whole new dimension to multitasking which Samsung calls Multi Active Window.
The foldable display technology will go into mass production in the coming month and we can see the foldable segment in smartphones as early as in 2019. How it will impact the Smartphone market is yet to be decided with divided opinions about it all over the tech community on YouTube some completely dismissing it as a gimmick and saying that the foldable Smartphone does not matter ,others waiting for this form factor to develop into something more useable while others welcoming it as the next big leap in mobile industry