The South Korean giant Samsung, as a rule, presents its new products either at major international exhibitions, or organizes dedicated events for these purposes. Organized by the Samsung Developers Conference, in turn, has traditionally not been of any interest to the average consumer. It brings together developers who are shown new software products and tools with which they can create new software products. But this time the conference promised to become something special, because for a week in a row before it, Samsung was actively hinting at what the long-awaited emerging smartphone would show. A smartphone, more precisely, a certain semblance of a device with such a name was indeed shown, but it can be said with confidence that people were not waiting for such a presentation.
The company began with stories about its plans for conquering the application market, announcing that the digital platform of the virtual voice assistant Bixby presented a year and a half ago will be open to third-party developers. Samsung itself during this time has integrated the digital assistant into the most diverse products of its own design, ranging from smartphones and televisions to refrigerators. Now, this opportunity will be provided to third-party developers who can implement the Bixby system in their hardware, thereby having the opportunity to create their own ecosystem of products.
In the near future, Samsung also plans to increase the number of languages supported by Bixby, adding German, Italian and Spanish to the list. In addition, a native localized version of Bixby for Spain and the UK will appear. These localizations were already available, but only for the US market.
Following the story about the digital assistant, the device was shown, remotely resembling a folding smartphone. Based on what was shown at the conference and as it was shown (in dim light), the device is still at a very early stage of development, because when folded it literally looks like a small brick with an external display. Something similar was already in the framework of one of the MWC exhibitions, when we were shown a prototype of the device, which later turned into a Galaxy S8 (though not immediately).
The device can be deployed. For this, Samsung came up with a new technology, which is called the Infinity Flex Display. In the unfolded state, the gadget sports a big, rather, mini-tablet, rather than a phone, square screen of 7.3 inches.
During the demonstration, it was shown that the device can simultaneously display up to three applications. This feature is realized through software technology, which Samsung calls a “multi active window” (multi active window).
According to the man who showed the device, the company is going to start mass production of the Infinity Flex Display “in the coming months.” However, he did not specify when the market should wait for a device ready for sale, and not just a concept in the form of a brick with two screens.
It also became known that Google is going to officially support the new folding devices with the Android operating system. Currently, the company is actively cooperating with Samsung in order to launch the first such smartphone next year. Google supports developers with tips and is going to assist in the adaptation of existing Android functions to devices with folding screens.
Samsung is far from the only company in the market that is working on the creation of folding devices. Similar developments are engaged in, for example, Huawei, which plans to release its first device of its kind in the same year. Lenovo and Xiaomi also began to hint that they are working in this direction. And the same LG is engaged in the creation of folding OLED-displays for TVs, which can be rolled into a tube if you get bored.
Even Microsoft is working on a folding device with several displays, which seems to be the modern incarnation of its old Courier concept. Head of Microsoft Surface Panos Panay said earlier that the emerging Surface is “his favorite child.” Other less well-known manufacturers also began to show their concepts and developments of folding devices.
In general, a new trend is emerging. Next year we will definitely see on the market a wide variety of folding smartphones, tablets and many other products.