|Samsung Electronics Senior Vice President Justin Denison unfolds the company's foldable screen smartphone prototype during the Samsung Developers Conference in San Francisco, Wednesday. / REUTERS-Yonhap|
By Nam Hyun-woo
SAN FRANCISCO -- Samsung Electronics revealed its foldable smartphone for the first time, Wednesday (local time), at its Samsung Developer Conference here, heralding a war with its American and Chinese rivals in the newly emerging market.
The tech giant showcased the prototype which carries its Infinity Flex Display, at its Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco.
It drew surprise from more than 5,000 participants at the show, when Senior Vice President Justin Denison took it from his jacket pocket and unfolded it.
A few hours later, the company's principal engineer behind the project, Park Ji-sun, showcased the phone's finer details, saying it will be "the game-changer" of the smartphone industry.
The phone has two screens _ a 4.58 inch cover display and a 7.3 inch main display that actually folds in half. When folded, the cover display shows concise information, and details pop up on the main screen when unfolded.
The outside display has a resolution of 840x1960. The main display offers a 1536x2152 resolution. Both have a 420 dpi density.
Park stressed that the company opted for the design as they believe "it offers the optimal user experience," which in this case is its multitasking ability.
The main screen is partitioned into three parts -- one large window and two sub-windows. By dividing them, the screen can display different apps simultaneously.
During a sub-session of the event, Samsung Electronics and Flipboard, a news aggregation app, demonstrated actual uses of unfolding the screen. When folded, the cover screen shows a concise version of articles, but more details and attached clips and photos "unfold" when the user unfolds the main screen.
"The usability of the unfolding screen can be expanded further depending on how developers make applicable apps," Park said on the sidelines of the session.
Regarding the battery life and consumer price, neither Park nor Samsung Electronics officials disclosed details, merely saying "battery life will be at least the same as current models and the price will be as appropriate as possible.
Though the company did not outline specific details of its upcoming foldable phone, consumers may experience Samsung's first foldable phone in the near future, as Park said the launch will take place within next year.
"This is not the only foldable display we will show," Park said. "We will continue developing various types of foldable displays."
For the foldable phone, Samsung Electronics is working with Google to provide seamless usability between the cover display and the main screen.
Google Senior Software Engineer Adrian Ross said the current Android Pie allows multi-resume of apps on multiple windows based on an agreement between manufacturer and app developer. And such a feature will be mandatory in the upcoming Android Q.