Check out Samsung’s foldable, sliding screen of the future

Check out Samsung’s foldable, sliding screen of the future

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Samsung wants the gadgets of the future to do more than just fold in half. This message was clear on CES, where the smartphone maker showcased its flexible display concepts. Among the most notable was Flex Hybrid, which has a screen that folds and slides to resize.

The Flex Hybrid folds like a notebook, but opens to reveal a tablet-sized display with an adjustable screen. The display can switch between 10.5- and 12.4-inch screen sizes thanks to its sliding and folding design. In addition to changing the screen size, the prototype can also jump between 4:3 and 16:10 aspect ratios. Although the Flex Hybrid is only a concept, it shows that Samsung is exploring what the next evolution of foldable phones and tablets could look like.

The Flex Hybrid is just one of several models that Samsung detailed on January 3rd press release. There’s also a 17-inch slide-out display that was previewed in September, and a digital cockpit concept designed for self-driving vehicles. My colleague Eli Blumenthal, who had the chance see Samsung’s concepts in person at CES, said these designs have renewed his excitement about the future of foldables.

Read more: CES 2023: How to watch the biggest announcements from Samsung, LG, Nvidia

Samsung showed off its display concepts at CES 2023.

David Katzmeier/CNET

Concepts like these don’t always lead to actual products, but the Flex Hybrid seems most in line with Samsung’s current product strategy. Flip phones represent only a part of the wider phone market, but Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip have established themselves well in Samsung’s range of mobile devices. The company’s early entry into the foldable phone space has given it an advantage in terms of market share, as Samsung accounts for more than 88% of the foldable smartphone market, according to Omdia.

TM Roh, the head of Samsung’s mobile experience business, suggested in an interview last August that the company is already thinking about what’s next after the Z Fold and Z Flip. The introduction of new concepts such as the Flex Hybrid highlights this.

‚ÄúThat’s all you saw [at CES] plus more,” he said, referring to the concepts of the display Samsung presented at CES last year.

But Samsung is likely to face more competition as foldable phones continue to evolve. Motorola and TCL both showed off their own concepts for rolling phones. Oppo’s Find N2, which the company unveiled in late 2022, also shows a lot of promise thanks to its lightweight design, as my colleague Sareena Dayaram wrote.

Although Samsung is trying to make foldable phones a more regular part of our daily lives, its goal is not to replace regular phones.

“I wouldn’t see just a bar type, or just a foldable, or just another potentially new form factor dominating the market,” Roch also said during the previous interview. “But I rather see the different categories co-existing.”

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