The shape of smartphones has undergone unprecedented changes in the past year. We have seen the mechanical structure represented by a lifting camera, the dual-screen display mechanism of the two screens on the front and back, and the return of slider phones a few years ago.
However, this change does not give a clear direction. We are still at the crossroads of development: on the one hand, we continue to choose the most mature solution, although conservative can at least stabilize the experience; on the other hand, the leaders have started to adopt boldly The new process structure and screen technology are trying to get the first recognition from the market and consumers.
Today Samsung chooses the latter. It bets on "foldable screen phones", which you can also understand as a new generation of flip phones.
▲ Samsung folding phone prototype
At the Samsung SDC Developer Conference held early this morning, the South Korean manufacturer officially released a folding screen technology solution called "Infinity Flex Display" and demonstrated a prototype at the scene. Folded screen structure.
"When it opens, it is a tablet computer that can provide a large screen experience; when closed, it is a mobile phone that can fit in your pocket." On the stage, Samsung's senior vice president Justin Denison introduced the device on his hand, Slowly opened the phone's screen.
Specifically, Samsung ’s prototype is equipped with two screens: one is a large internal screen after expansion, and the device will be similar to a small tablet at this time; the other is a small external screen, which Samsung calls "Cover display" is probably a secondary screen concept, but as long as the area is sufficient, it can also be used as a normal mobile phone display.
At present, Samsung has not launched a foldable screen phone that can be sold out, but it also said that it will be ready for mass production in the next few months, and will bring real foldable screen phones to the market in 2019.
In addition to the new folding screen, Samsung has not stopped the research and development of existing flat screens. The press conference also showed several other cutting solutions, such as the top bar of V-shaped or U-shaped cutouts, which is equivalent to what we see now. "Beauty tip" phone. ; Another is to abandon bangs, but you need to dig a hole for the camera and place it on the side of the screen.
The last one is an entire screen without a gap, which should be the screen technology that hides the camera.
As the core screen supplier of the current mobile phone industry, Samsung has indeed put a lot of effort into the screen this time, but whether or not it can lead a new round of change is another matter, because we can't ignore the folding screen mobile phone. There are some problems.
首先是厚度，根据之前柔宇科技发布的首个量产折叠屏手机 FlexPai 来看，它的铰链式设计无法很好地将上下两层结构贴合在一起，其中弯曲的部分会留出一大块缝隙，这导致该机折叠后的厚度达到了 15mm，而目前主流旗舰手机的厚度仅为 7-8mm 而已。
另外一点要提及的是软件和系统，三星在会场上已经展示一套多窗口聚合的 UI 界面，它能够同时显示三个手机应用的界面，到时应该会直接运用在折叠屏手机的展开状态下，以便充分利用大尺寸的显示面积。
好消息是，作为全球 Android 市场的第一大 OEM 厂商，三星也不用自己唱独角戏。Google 今天已经宣布，将会对名为「Foldables」的折叠屏类设备提供软件层面的支持，对此 Android 工程副总裁 Dave Burke 也表示：
我们希望让 Andorid 系统充分地利用这种新形态，并尽可能地减少开发者的工作量。
按照 Google 的说法，2019 年我们就会看到数款采用折叠屏的 Android 设备，这意味着三星并不是唯一一家要做折叠屏的厂商。
具体到系统层面，Google 提到了一项名为「Screen Continuity」的特性，主要就是让 Android 应用能够自适配不同尺寸比例的屏幕。
This is similar to how you use the Windwos computer to browse the web. If you reduce the browser window, some web pages that support self-adaptation will retype the content according to the window size. not ideal.
In other words, if the folding screen mobile phone wants to obtain real "practical value", then it must convince the majority of Android third-party developers to adapt it to the interface, otherwise when the screen is expanded, you may only see a forced stretch Version of the mobile phone application, or multiple small windows displayed side by side.
Considering the poor adaptation of the Android application to the tablet, I can already expect that similar problems will definitely be encountered after the first batch of folding screen phones are launched next year. Of course, if we just say that watching videos, playing games, and browsing the web, the big screen after expansion will definitely have a significant improvement over the current experience.
As for the best state of a folding screen phone, it is probably that it can further break the boundary between the phone and the tablet. After all, if one device can indeed address the needs of two categories at the same time, why should we carry two more devices separately?
Even aside from the smartphone market, the use of folding screens in other areas will become more and more abundant. Imagine when your computer monitor, living room TV, or even a laptop can be turned into a folded shape, or rolled up and taken away like a canvas, it will be more interesting.
All in all, the smartphone industry's exploration of new forms will not stop, let's look forward to the new Samsung flagship next year.