Samsung is finally making its mythical flexible phone a reality.
Well, at least that certainly seems to be the case. After a fewfalse starts, it appears that 2018 might actually be the year.
Recentstories, Samsung having the facilities in place to produce such technology en masse, and the very fact Samsung has (sort of)committed tolaunching a device next year suggests it will happen. This, of course, should be a concern to rivals.
A dramatic change in form-factor that breeds new, creative ideas feels like the type of shift that changes an industry. And if Samsung is preparing to launch its foldable Galaxy X early next year, then direct device rivals in the recently released Pixel 2 and iPhone X should beparticularlyworried.
Why? What is the main draw outside of bringing back a flip phone design that’s about as relevant as Ja Rule? It’s what comes with it.
Think back to when Samsung first launched the Note Edge and the additional functionality that came with it: the sidebar. A new way to interact with, and check, notifications. When the Edge was facedown, it was still possible to tell notifications were incoming because of the way the rounded edge illuminated the table’s surface.
A new way to read annoying notifications is small beer, I’ll grant you that. But that tiny design change illustrates -however feebly – how the outside can shape the inside.
It would be interesting to see what creative liberties UX and UI designers would take with an entirely new device that’s designed around flexibility.
For example, how about a device that reanimates Yota phone’s e-ink display on one side? Hiding away the Kindle-like e-ink screen when folded into a ‘normal’ smartphone, but revealing it when it’s time to read.
Or, perhaps, a malleable device that can switch between a smartwatch, phone and tablet? There are endless possibilities. If it’s accurate that Samsung will release a flexible phone in early 2018, then Apple and Google’s current flagships are going to look very old, very quickly, up against whatever the Galaxy maker brings back from the future
There’s also the issue of how Samsung’s main rivals can develop and manufacture similar devices to keep pace. Samsung has been working on this concept for years and has structured its manufacturing process accordingly, which will give it a significant head start. It’ll be interesting to see if rivals can catch up fast enough, or, indeed, if they have the infrastructure in place to do so.
In any case, it now looks like we’re on the cusp of the adrenaline shot the smartphone industry has desperately needed for some years. And, once again, it looks like Samsung is the one leading the way.