Samsung Developer Conference 2019 is underway and the company has now teased a new flip phone that takes cues almost directly from the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The event is running from today through tomorrow and primarily centers around software development. So, unsurprisingly, the company says the phone is intended to show off new use cases for folding display panels.
Subsequently, details about the device the company showed are slim.
The South Korean tech giant shared its vision for a flip phone in a promotional video. That begins by showing the current-gen folding gadget opening and then closing. The frame of the Galaxy Fold is clearly visible but quickly fades into the background. The handset then folds again, but along the horizontal access similar to a traditional flip phone.
Is this Samsung flip phone just proof of concept?
As noted above, there aren't any technical details or specs highlighted in the promotional material for a Samsung Galaxy Fold flip phone. The bezel and edges are clearly visible, as is a hole-punch camera on the front of the gadget but are kept generic too. But the short clip does showcase what could be some benefits on the software side of the equation.
In particular, the sequence briefly showcases the gadget recording a vertical video in two scenarios. The phone on the left-hand side is wide open. Samsung's preview shows the device on the right-hand side half-folded.
The former phone's software lays out a fairly standard camera UI over the top of the preview footage. It's a familiar look for anybody who has ever shot a quick selfie video on a Samsung smartphone.
The second phone does something entirely different with the UI. Following in the footsteps of Samsung's OneUI best practices. The video playback is moved to the top half while the interface and controls shift to the lower half, laid flat on a surface.
That highlights a couple of advantages for a flip-folding smartphone, even in just that one app. First, users can prop up the device on its own and still see what they're recording. Second, the controls are all laid flat out of the way but are easily accessible. Presumably, it would be much easier to interact with those without jostling the phone too much too.
The concept is remarkably similar to how Android's folding screen-adaptability works with Samsung Galaxy Fold. But with the hinge in the other direction, the company is showing that it can be made even more functional than before.
Maybe not a first
It's relatively easy to see how this could be adapted for watching videos, playing back music, or any number of other app experiences too. However, Samsung may not be the first company to ultimately launch a device designed around a single, horizontally-folding display in a flip phone fashion.
Motorola, for example, is expected to announce a new entry in its Razr series by the end of 2019. It isn't likely the company will start selling that device before the year's end. But the latest leaks indicate it will at least show the gadget.
Like its namesake, the new Razr would fold along the same axis shown in the Samsung video and it's not unlikely the company will take a similar approach to manage app usage. That's especially true since Android has begun baking in folding features aimed at folding displays with help from Samsung.