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Samsung unveiled a prototype of its much-anticipated foldable smartphone Wednesday at a company conference in San Francisco. But don’t go camping in line for one just yet.
The bendable device, featuring Samsung’s Infinity Flex Display, allows a user to transform it from smartphone to tablet and back again.
Moments before revealing the prototype onstage at the Samsung Developer Conference, Justin Denison, Samsung’s senior vice president of mobile product marketing, heralded the announcement as a “big milestone” for mobile devices.
With the lights dimmed to conceal everything but the device’s display, Denison pulled the prototype from a jacket pocket to reveal its capabilities.
“When it’s open, it’s a tablet offering a big-screen experience,” said Denison. “When it’s closed, it’s a phone that fits neatly inside your pocket.”
The display, coming in at 7.3 inches when in tablet mode, can “help you browse, watch, connect and multitask like never before,” Denison added.
The device appeared onstage for less than 60 seconds, returning to Denison’s jacket following the announcement.
Samsung has been trying to make this a thing since 2015. It was rumored to release the foldable phone in 2017. Twice. The same tease came in January. Is this prototype a sign of an imminent release? Don’t hold your breath.
While a launch date was not provided during the conference, Samsung stated that large-scale production of the folding phone is expected to begin in the coming months.
Google also stated Wednesday that it is working to ensure that the Android operating system is compatible with foldable devices.
“We’re optimizing Android for this new form factor,” Google said. “And, making changes to help developers everywhere take advantage of the possibilities this creates for amazing new experiences, new ways to engage and delight your users.”
Mikael Thalen is a freelance journalist based in Seattle, covering all things technology, including social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.