Samsung just showed off its first foldable smartphone display, and while we still don’t know if it’ll be called the Samsung Galaxy X or Galaxy F, we did get to see the breakthrough concept in person.
Officially known as the ‘Infinity Flex Display,’ the smartphone concept was shown on stage for the first time at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco. It was literally unveiled in shadow, with only the expandable screen lit up. We have photos of it in both forms.
“We’ve always strived to bring you meaningful breakthroughs,” said Samsung Director of Product Marketing Hassan Anjum. “But despite all of that progress, we’ve been living in a world where the size of your screen can only be as large as the device itself.”
Until now, of course.
Anjum revealed the display on stage, showing off a clamshell design with a wide interior screen when opened flat, and an outside screen when folded-up.
“It’s finally here. When it’s open, it’s a tablet, offering a big screen experience,” Anjum said. “When closed, it’s a phone that fits neatly inside your pocket.”
Is there anything else different? That’s hard to judge right now. Anjum noted that the team behind it wants to hide the details, which apparently aren’t ready to be shown off just yet. However, the front screen looked pointedly smaller than the silhouette of the phone Anjum held up. That said, we’re so early in development that it could very well be enlarged to the dimensions we see in smartphones today.
To build the Infinity Flex Display, Samsung had to develop new materials and processes – to “throw out old assumptions, and reimagine the display from the ground up,” Anjum said. “We rethought the anatomy of a smartphone display.”
Since glass is static and inherently inflexible, Samsung developed a new substitute: an advanced composite polymer. They also reduced the thickness of the polarizer by 45% in their quest for an ever-thinner screen.
This is what allows the whole screen to fold inwards, clamshell-style. Whether it can bend in other ways is unclear from Anjum’s brief demonstration in the dark.
But the Infinity Flex Display won’t stay in the shadows for long:
“This isn’t just a concept,” said Anjum. “The breakthroughs we’ve made in display materials have been matched by breakthroughs in manufacturing. As a result, we’ll be ready to start mass production in the coming months.”
- Check out why foldable smartphones are a good idea