Samsung teases ‘clamshell’ foldable phone

Samsung Electronics gave a glimpse of a prototype for a new foldable phone, Wednesday, a clamshell-style device that can fold vertically.

The tech company unveiled the device concept at its annual Samsung Developer Conference 2019 (SDC19) in San Jose, California. While the Galaxy Fold foldable phone ― launched in September ― opens like a book, the new device looks akin to a traditional flip cell phone.

Samsung said the new phone was designed for people who want to use a compact but wider smartphone.

“The Galaxy Fold is just the beginning,” Jeong Hye-soon, vice president and head of the framework R&D group at Samsung, said during a keynote speech. “This brand-new form factor that we’re now exploring will not only easily fit in your pocket, but also change the way you use your phone.”

The new clamshell-style phone is in line with the company’s strategy to extend the lineup of new device form factors, it said.

“The launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Fold established a brand-new product category. To help realize the vision of a foldable future, Samsung is demonstrating its commitment to developing a variety of foldable form factors at the SDC19. Enriching the category with more options will help Samsung and developers explore new use cases and user experiences,” the company said.

Samsung didn’t reveal the details of the new smartphone such as its official name, release date and price range.

In addition to providing an early glimpse of the upcoming smartphone, Samsung also introduced developers’ tools for its artificial intelligence (AI) platform Bixby and internet of things (IoT) platform SmartThings.

For third-party developers of the Bixby assistant, the company introduced new features of the Bixby Developer Studio, a software toolkit for the AI platform. The Bixby Templates feature is to reduce coding times and the Bixby Views feature helps developers design a unified user interface across many Samsung devices such as phones, TVs, refrigerators, tablet PCs and smartwatches.

The company also introduced the Work as a SmartThings Hub (WASH) program that allows partner firms to embed its SmartThings IoT platform into their devices.

Samsung also strengthened its ties with IBM as the two will launch a joint platform to improve the work environment for first responders such as police officers and fire fighters. Combining IBM’s cloud computing and Samsung’s mobile technologies, the platform can track the health statistics of such workers if they are wearing Samsung smart devices.

“We are fortunate to work with the world’s best developers and designers. Together, we have built an extensive and secure ecosystem for devices and services,” Koh Dong-jin, CEO of Samsung’s mobile business, said. “We continue to make progress toward our vision of being an innovator of new mobile experiences that flow seamlessly and continuously wherever we go.”

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