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Samsung is making foldable screens cool again, and I’m thrilled

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Are foldable phones and tablets cool again? It will depend on Samsung, LG, TCL and other device manufacturers.

But after seeing the Samsung Flex Hybridwho bends And slidesAnd This week in CES 2023, I started getting excited again about the latest tech that has yet to catch on in a serious way. While the concept model remained in the hands of a Samsung employee, seeing it myself renewed my hopes for possibilities we have yet to explore with screens that can bend, bend, slide, and flex. twist.

Read more: Check CES 2023 Live BlogAnd must see revealAnd The most futuristic technology And The weirdest gadgets.

As someone who has used a number of these older devices since SamsungAnd MotorolaAnd Oppo And others, I admit Being a bit disappointed with the appeal of foldables in recent years. The Flex Hybrid and other prototypes from Samsung’s display division may have changed that.

There have been skates, foldables, and even some devices that use multiple technologies, any of which may appear in the not-too-distant future. The Flex Hybrid is a foldable tablet that has an extra screen that pulls out, with the demo giving an example of watching a football match on the tablet’s full screen before removing the extra display area to see stats and other info. ‘other information.

Other prototypes, like the Flex S, can fold multiple times, giving you a smartphone-sized screen when closed and a large tablet when open. that’s it Something straight out of Westworld on HBO.

Samsung Display’s Flex S looks like a tablet screen from HBO’s Westworld.

David Katzmaier/CNET

The new displays appear to be bringing the foldable era to life, which got off to a rocky start with The original Samsung Galaxy Fold had well-documented issues In 2019. Following models as the latest Turnaround Z 4 And Z-fold 4 It showed a lot of promise and ingenuity, but none of them really succeeded despite being a pretty stellar device – we’re talking about 1.1% share of global smartphone market for foldable devices, according to the research firm. IDC.

However, the appeal of foldable devices is growing among buyers as prices gradually drop and improvements are made, with IDC predicting foldable phone shipments to reach 41.5 million units in 2026 from 13.5 million. units in 2022.

Again, these prototypes are not meant to be finished products, but rather a showcase of the technology the company is working on. It is also developed by Samsung Display, which is a different part of Samsung than the Samsung Electronics unit that produces and sells phones, tablets, computers, TVs, and other electronics (although the two also work together ).

Samsung Display is one vendor, and its screens find their way into a range of products not made by the South Korean tech giant. So, while Samsung manufactures the screens, it is very likely that another company is marketing some of these screens.

“These are all prototypes, concept devices, obviously,” says John Jacobs, vice president of sales and marketing for Samsung Display. “We’re not going to go out and build millions [of these displays] Until we have customers. Jacobs hopes those customers, from phone and computer makers to automakers looking for displays for their next cars, will see the concepts and be inspired.

“That’s what we want to do here is to help, if you will…allow creativity and imagination. »

It’s up to other companies to take those displays and build working products around them. While Samsung was showcasing the technology at CES, it didn’t allow the media to take the prototypes and use them themselves. Instead, the company asked employees to manage the demonstrations.

But unlike many CES products and concepts, Samsung seems ready for these displays to take the next step to becoming a real product. In fact, Jacobs doesn’t think we have to wait that long.

” I suspect [in] 2024, especially multifaceted devices, becomes much more likely.

There’s a lot of work to do for Samsung and others to get us there, but I can’t wait.

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