Samsung Developers Conference 9709

Samsung demonstrates its foldable phone.

Angela Lang / CNET

The foldable phone age has officially started. Samsung introduced the world first foldable phone This week, the device was rumored to be called Galaxy X or Galaxy F. This was not a typical announcement with every detail, as it was for the Galaxy S9 or the case Note 9 Revelation. Rather, Samsung has raised his folding phone through a short video and lifted a working prototype into the hands of a leader on the stage.

Although Samsung has never shown the foldable cell phone up close – not even behind museum glass – the device is plentifully real. It's designed to deserve the support of Google. In fact, Samsung's project seems to have kicked off official Android support for all foldable phones, regardless of manufacturer. In the meantime, Samsung gathered developers in a Wednesday afternoon session to share some more details like the phone 4.5 and 7.3 inches screen sizes,

Despite the drib and the abundance of information, the foldable mobile phone appears briefly on the stage asked more questions than answers, We know the following – and what else is coming.

What is the name of the phone?

Samsung has not named the foldable phone, but rumors suggest that it's called Galaxy X or Galaxy F. The "F" could stand for "fold" or "flex". The "X" could mean "extra" or "10" as there are nine Galaxy S phones on the road – though we expect to see a Galaxy S10 appear in March this year.

What is a foldable phone?

According to Samsung's definition, a foldable phone is a device with a cellular connection (hence the "phone" part) that looks like a tablet when it is fully open and looks almost like a regular phone. Samsung's prototype has a tablet-like screen that closes like a book inside Royol's FlexPai, another foldable phone, has a fold-out screen, ie the "screen" is located on the outside. There is no single definition.

Currently in progress:
Look at that:

Samsung's foldable phone uses One UI


Did not ZTE make a foldable phone?

Last year's ZTE Axon M was an early version of a folding phone with two separate phone screens mounted on a central hinge. Samsung's foldable phone (and Royole's FlexPai) seem to have unibody displays that pop up at the midpoint. A magnet secures the screen of the FlexPai in the "closed" position.

We can credit the Axon M for exploring various new ways of using a dual-screen device. Royole has already taken over some of them, for example mirroring the contents of both screens so that people on both sides of a table can watch the same video clip. ZTE could come up with a foldable (or "foldable") second generation phone.

What is the advantage of a folding phone?

There are two main advantages. First, a foldable phone can more than double the available screen space. For example, the Samsung model has a 4.5-inch display that you can use when closing. Then the interior opens to a 7.3-inch screen. You could argue that you can work with three displays.

A larger screen gives you an enhanced view interface, but also gives you several options for using your device. Samsung's foldable display lets you simultaneously multitask in three areas simultaneously. With ZTE's Axon M, you can use the entire screen for an app, load a separate app on each screen, or mirror the same app on both screens.

What happens when you open and close a Samsung phone when using an app?

Like the Royole FlexPai, this foldable phone transmits the app or screen you are looking at in the folded "closed" position to the "open" position and vice versa. We noticed some delay on the FlexPai, but we had no chance to see how Samsung would handle the transition.

What's so cool about Samsung's display?

Samsung has developed a new display for its foldable phone, the Infinity Flex Display. The company said it had to change the usual levels that are part of a display (this lights up the "screen" you see on your phone). All ads are layers, but they are usually stacked and not moved. The Infinity Flex Display uses a new adhesive developed by Samsung to laminate the display layers so that they fold and fold hundreds of thousands of times.

Currently in progress:
Look at that:

Royole FlexPai is a foldable phone that you can actually buy


The company also had to make the Infinity Flex display thinner than any other mobile display. This lowers the thickness of the polarizer layer by 45 percent, making the screen more readable.

When will Samsung's foldable phone be offered for sale?

Samsung said it will start mass-producing the phone in the coming months. The foldable phone is expected to be sold in 2019. We expect Samsung to host a separate launch event to present the details. Again, this was just a little taste.

How much will it cost?

The short answer is: We do not know because Samsung did not announce it. However, it is easy to assume that this will be an expensive device. Developer Royole FlexPai's foldable phone costs $ 1,318 for a device with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The version with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage costs $ 1,469.

Apps can work on the screen of the Samsung foldable phone in three different ways.

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

Since Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 for power users starts at $ 999, it's reasonable to assume that a state-of-the-art folding phone could easily start at $ 1,500, if not more. We can expect manufacturers like Samsung (and Royole) to justify high prices based on the total area of ​​the screen. You have a reason to get a tablet and a cell phone in one device – and phone prices just go up.

What is the life of the battery?

Samsung aims to keep its foldable phone battery as long as current Galaxy smartphones, said Jisun Park, technical director and head of system software group for Samsung's mobile business. This is despite the fact that there is more active screen to discharge the battery. The US version of the grade 9 held an average of 19 hours and 20 minutes CNET's Loop Video Drain Test,

From where is the battery anyway?

We do not have access to the design features, but the batteries do not bend. It is expected that a large battery will be on one side, balancing many of the other components on the other side. One of the main complaints we had with the ZTE Axon M was that it felt unbalanced and half of the battery was drastically thicker and heavier than the other half. Samsung will have to take care of that.

Samsung Developers Conference 9700

Samsung's new Infinity Flex display on the first foldable phone.

Angela Lang / CNET

Is the picture the way the foldable phone will look like?

Almost definitely not. Samsung showed a prototype model and commented that the real parts were hidden inside. Samsung is not ready for the public or competitors to see a final design.

If there is a breadcrumb about the final shape of the foldable phone, this is the new One UI operating system. The company mentioned that the rounded rectangular edges, which are an important design motif, should correspond to the rounded edges of its devices. The folding prototype phone has 90-degree edges and thick frames. We can expect a softer look.

What does the device consist of?

Materials are a big deal because buyers have been conditioned to spend more on aluminum, ceramics and glass. However, the FlexPai uses a plastic disc and housing to achieve flexibility and keep costs at bay, and the ZTE Axon M has shut down camera quality and other parts to make it affordable.

The FlexPai phone from Royole is another vision for foldable phones.

Angela Lang / CNET

It is possible that the foldable telephone has at least one plastic screen. As CNET asked, during a session for developers, Samsung's park suggested that the outdoor screen might have a different material than the screen's interior image. We assume that the 4.5-inch screen can be made from Gorilla Glass, while the 7.3-inch screen can be made from plastic inside.

Samsung did not respond to a request.

How does it work?

In general, you use the foldable phone like a regular phone and open it when you want to use the larger screen area. Samsung has not provided details on how the hardware and software communicate.

Is it running on Android?

Yes, but there is more. Samsung announced that the foldable phone and future phones will be running a redesigned version of Samsung's custom software called One UI. Samsung will provide the One UI beta for this month, but only for Android 9 Pie users. It's a fair bet that the foldable phone is launched with Android Pie.

Currently in progress:
Look at that:

ZTE Axon M is a quirky phone with dual display


Which apps work on the phone?

It's early, so we do not have much details about apps. That's why Samsung introduced the device at SDC, the developer conference: to bring developers onboard with the support of the phone. Samsung's in-house apps like SmartThings will probably work on the device, and its long-time partner Flipboard showed its first efforts with an app.

Because the biggest benefit of multitasking is having three apps running at the same time or accessing more features in a given app at once, developers need to create compelling apps that work seamlessly on the foldable phone. Samsung relies on app developers to support innovation, as was the case with stylus-compatible apps for the Galaxy Note.

When you open the device, does the smaller screen go dark?

For the moment, Samsung's design will "turn off" the 4.5-inch display and open your app on the larger 7.3-inch interior screen, where you can stop where you left off.

What about the competition from Samsung?

Small at this point, but the future looks tough. The shell shell ZTE Axon M is not a big competitor, and the Royole FlexPai also not, although he defeated Samsung with a really foldable display. But we know that LG and Huawei have their own plans for folding phones. According to rumors LG will start in January at CES 2019.

Will Samsung sell its foldable displays to other device manufacturers?

During a SDC panel on Wednesday, a developer asked when Samsung would sell its display technology to competitors. It declined to comment on this possibility, but Samsung is one of the world's largest manufacturers of display panels. It is likely that the technology will ultimately be sold to competitors that can be used in their own devices.

Is this all real?

A foldable phone may feel like a pipe dream, but this is a fantasy that is actually brought to life. There remain questions about the price, convenience and convenience of using a folding device.

What comes after folding?

"Our innovation pipeline includes rollable and stretchy displays," said Samsung Denison on Wednesday during the presentation.

CNET's Shara Tibken contributed to this story.

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