Samsung has now confirmed that it will be showcasing a new take on Android 9 Pie and progress made in terms of folding display technology at this week's Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) via recently-spotted changes made to the official SDC application. In particular, the app's event details page now indicates that the company will introduce a new beta for its Samsung Galaxy UX program based on Android 9 Pie. That will likely be marketed as Samsung Experience 10, following the Korean tech giant's typical naming conventions. Beyond that revelation, the details also seem to confirm that it will be showcasing its long-expected folding handset, tentatively the Samsung Galaxy F. Specifically, the message invites attendees and app users to "see how a Foldable display creates a totally new experience." The Samsung Developer Conference is scheduled to run from November 7 through 8 and will take place at San Francisco’s Moscone West center.
Background: At least a few of the planned updates for the next iteration of Samsung's user-facing software had already been highlighted by Samsung France near the beginning of October. To begin with, the company confirmed that the changes would allow devices with dual-SIM capabilities to utilize both VoWiFi and VoLTE, rather than just the international variations of its flagship devices. Meanwhile, camera improvements will be implemented, including a reworking of how videos are categorized and discovered, in addition to expanding the availability of a host device flash unit to the direct focus mode. Fixes for at least one Camera app-related bug that revealed a user's photos even when launched from the lock screen will be incorporated alongside those recently hinted features. On the audio front, more comprehensive audio editing tools will be added to the company's Voice Recorder app. Finally, Bixby will almost certainly undergo improvements across the board, if the company's history with the updates is any indicator, and users are likely to begin seeing some of the core software features previously exclusive to the Samsung flagships being ported over to its mid-range handsets.
With regard to Samsung's folding smartphone, on the other hand, the current speculation is that the company doesn't actually have a working handset to show off. If that's the case, the tech giant's choice of wording makes sense given that it will be forced to rely on concept renders and possibly physical representations of the flexible display panels themselves. Bearing that in mind, reports had surfaced indicating that yet another new take on Android OS built in partnership with Google and designed solely for use on folding smartphones would be shown at the event. Moreover, even if the company isn't able to give attendees a glimpse of the hardware itself, it seems to be ready to provide more details on that build-out on the software. Since the final iteration of that was previously rumored to depend entirely on which of two possible hardware versions was ultimately chosen, that could show that the device is getting very close to completion.
Impact: A new Android 9 Pie-based update to Samsung's flagship user experience is going to be a welcome addition to this year's SDC event since it should provide deeper insights about where the company is heading on the software front. What's more, the incoming changes will be explained in much more detail, with subsequent press releases offering more information as well as representative media. However, the more exciting event here is likely the implication that Samsung will finally unveil a working foldable smartphone or, at very least, a realistic conceptualization of a product the company plans to release. That's because the company has been teasing folding and flexible devices for years at this point, including through the more recent hints and leaks outlined above. Although most of the concepts delivered have been stunning examples of future tech, they also haven't been remotely feasible with contemporary technologies and, as a result, have always seemed a long ways off. With that technology now taking a center stage position on the upcoming docket for SDC 2018, it seems as though the world's leading Android OEM is finally ready to show off the results of its years-long efforts.