They finally did it. Samsung finally unveiled the world’s first foldable display smartphone at SDC 2018. In this article, I want to share everything there is to know about the new foldable display device from Samsung, other SDC 2018 announcements, and what we can expect from Samsung in the near future.
Here’s why Samsung’s first foldable smartphone is great news
If you read my blog about foldable phones last week, you’ll know that we’ve seen prototype foldable displays from Samsung in the past, but the device showcased at SDC 2018 last night was the real deal. It uses Samsung’s new Infinity Flex Display technology. It was a real smartphone that had Android on it and it could fold inward on itself.
With the new device, the display can be folded inward to create a standard smartphone style device. It can then be folded out into a larger tablet style device. In tablet mode, owners will be able to run up to three apps on the screen at once with Samsung’s new Multi Active Window. There was a lot of criticism about the design of the new device, but what many people missed was that this wasn’t the full retail design. In fact, Samsung purposely picked out a blocky, bulky case because they don’t want to give away too much, too early.
At the event, Samsung’s Justin Denison, SVP of Mobile Product Marketing, promised us the real design was beautiful. Samsung are responsible for the beautiful Edge to Edge display so I don’t have any doubts about what Justin Denison had to say.
Samsung’s foldable display release date and specs
After waiting so long for Samsung to launch a foldable display, you can probably imagine how excited I am to hear the latest news. But the wait isn’t quite over. SDC is for developers, and Samsung use it to help developers plan changes to their apps or software in the near future. The new foldable display showcase at SDC 2018 was not a product unveiling of any sort.
So, when can we expect a real retail version? Samsung say they want to get it into the public’s hands next year. They also really care about making it a product people will want to buy. So, this is why they revealed it at SDC 2018 first. They are relying on developers to help them build a strong ecosystem for the device when it lands.
Obviously, when it finally does land, this will be the first smartphone of its kind, so there may be some compromises that we wouldn’t usually see on a Samsung display. Samsung explained at SDC 2018 that they had to reduce the size of the polarizer, the part that removes glare on your screen, by 45%. They also had to adjust the display technology to be able to work on a foldable adhesive.
We will have to wait and see whether these changes will have any effect on the color quality or brightness of the display, but everything else about the device is looking quite good so far. Samsung revealed their foldable display retail product will have the following specifications:
Screen density 420 dpi
4.58 inches with 21:9 aspect ratio
Folded out display
7.3 inches with 4.2:3 aspect ratio
We don’t know anything about the other hardware specifications yet, but these resolutions are very reasonable. I wouldn’t be surprised if the first release is more expensive than your typical Samsung smartphone but everything else is shrouded in mystery for now.
Whether or not the final product is an instant success or a huge failure, a first retail run will be important for Samsung to make a bold step in history. This is a direction Samsung are charging ahead with but they have a clear, thoughtful plan for the future of foldable display tech.
We may see displays that can roll up into a scroll, or those that can be stretched in the future. And, most importantly, we are sure that other manufacturers will jump on the bandwagon to compete with Samsung.
Other SDC 2018 Announcements
Whilst the new foldable display may have been the star of the show, the Samsung Developer Conference is still happening right now.
Firstly, Samsung revealed their commitment to bringing Bixby to as many platforms as possible. They want Bixby to be a true contender to Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod and they’ll achieve this by introducing Bixby to everything from smart speakers to smart fridges.
Samsung made some other announcements on November 7 and we should get to see more about these announcements today. For example, Samsung are also making some improvements in AR/VR, particular for gaming. We know how serious manufacturers are getting with mobile gaming now, so it’ll be exciting to see the exact details Samsung has to share.
We will also get some more details about other product updates in the works for other Samsung products.
This is a monumental day in smartphone history. I think that we’ll be looking back on today as a key turning point for any future change on how we interact with smartphones and displays. What are your thoughts on the foldable display and SDC 2018?