Foldable smartphones, flexible screens enabled with digital assistants Bixby: Samsung wants to shake the market, just like Apple did with the iPhone. The details, however, remain literally in the dark.
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When folded, it is the size of an ordinary smartphone. But when it opens like a book, it opens suddenly inside a 7.3 inch (18.5 cm) screen that can hold up to three applications at a time. The flexible screen is "the basis for tomorrow's smartphone," says Samsung's Justin Denison manager in San Francisco.
A Samsung phone that hides a second foldable screen, the size of a small tablet might appear on the market next year. In any case, the corresponding "Infinity Flex Displays" should start in the next few months.
"The next big thing" in the smartphone market comes not from Apple, but from Samsung in South Korea. In 2007, the touch screen iPhone revolutionized the mobile phone market and kicked off the keypad phones. Now, Samsung wants to take the next step with a collapsible display.
The Google Android OS is ready
Google is on board: The Android operating system will fully support the screen, assures Glen Murphy from the Internet Group at the Samsung Development Conference.
However, many details have remained literally obscure when the prototype of San Francisco was presented: the stage lights were so refused that you could almost only see the bright displays. So it was not clear how thick the folded device is, whether the frame around the conventional outside screen is as wide as it looked – and how the Samsung folding mechanism designed it.
The Samsung concept also includes a new user interface called "A UI" and intelligent voice control. This role is to take over Samsung Bixby, a digital assistant that causes Alexa from Amazon and Siri from Apple. Samsung wants to invest $ 22 billion in artificial intelligence development and employ more than 1,000 developers in seven AI centers. German version of Bixby should be introduced in a few months, he said in San Francisco. So until now, the useless German "Bixby key" on the new Samsung smartphones will make sense. In the US, however, Bixby has been tirelessly reviewed so far.
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Samsung is facing a great challenge
DJ Koh, head of the Samsung mobile division, has two days to convince the approximately 5,000 software developers and partner companies that he has presented about his vision of the future. Because he's facing a problem. Unlike Apple, it does not control the operating system of the smartphone. Samsung is based on Android and is based on Google support. Samsung's "Tizen" operating system has never made progress on the smartphone market. Koh must pull the developers to his side. If you do not customize applications and applications, your Fold will remain empty. Samsung will now offer a foldable screen simulator that developers can use to test their products.
Koh also promises full access to Bixby to external developers. In their own software environment, "Bixby Developer Studio" should be able to quickly and easily create Bixby projects. These will be assisted by artificial intelligence that will automatically write parts of the software code.
Samsung, Koh points out, sells 500 million units each year, from rice cookers to smart speakers to smart phones or TVs. By 2020, all current devices will be connected to the network and more and more of them will receive Bixby. This huge base, Samsung expects, will provide enough interest. As early as 2021, according to Samsung researchers, the number of large smartphones will exceed the number of regular models. With the foldable phone that still fits into each pocket, Samsung would then have an attractive offer.
Other manufacturers also work on folding screens
Because the Primus smartphone can not assume that it will have a new own market. Meanwhile, smartphones with sliding screens are expected, among other things, by Chinese manufacturers Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo. And South Korean Samsung, LG, has already presented the prototype of a large TV screen that can be run.
After all, it had to be seen that it had another screen in the usual size of smartphones on one of the outer sides. The group has decided on an early demonstration to get software developers on board.