Samsung doubles screen size with foldable phone

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Head of Android UX at Google, Glen Murphy, speaking during the unveiling of the Samsung Infinity Flex.
Head of Android UX at Google, Glen Murphy, speaking during the unveiling of the Samsung Infinity Flex.

Samsung will bring to market smartphones with seamless, foldable displays. The Infinity Flex was unveiled at the Samsung Developers Conference, currently taking place in San Francisco.

Samsung said it will go into mass production in the next few months, meaning a mass market foldable smartphone could be a reality next year.

"The foldable display lays the foundation for a new kind of mobile experience. We are excited to work with developers on this new platform to create new value for our customers. We cannot wait to see where the technology and collaboration takes us," said DJ Koh, Samsung president and CEO of IT and mobile communications division, during the keynote address.

The company believes the new display will be a next-generation platform, allowing users to do things they can't do with an ordinary smartphone. Samsung asked developers at the conference to participate from the beginning, helping to figure out and create the best user experience.

"Users now have the best of both worlds: a compact smartphone that unfolds to reveal a larger, immersive display for multitasking and viewing content. The app experience seamlessly transitions from the smaller display to the larger display as the device unfolds. In addition, users can browse, watch, connect and multitask without losing a beat, simultaneously using three active apps on the larger display," the company said in a statement.

The device will be 7.3 inches when opened up and have a second screen on the front, so it can be used like a normal smartphone when closed, albeit slightly thicker.

Samsung has been threatening to release a foldable phone for years. The company even released a video in 2014 of what the phone would look like. It has also filed several patents for how the technology would work.

Competitors LG and Hauwei are rumoured to be working on a similar project.

Just last week, Chinese company Royole beat Samsung and everyone else to the mark by unveiling its own foldable smartphone that is already set to go to market.

The FlexPai has a flexible display that can be folded onto itself, from 0-degrees to 180-degrees, and can be used either folded or unfolded. Unfolded, the display size is 7.8-inches, with a 4:3 aspect ratio.

The company said the device is meant to combine both a smartphone and a tablet, and will be available to purchase from next month. Pre-orders are already open, with prices starting at $1 318 (around R19 000).

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