Samsung teases foldable display device, new smartphone UI for developers

Wednesday 7 November 2018 | 23:21 CET | News

Samsung Electronics has unveiled its new foldable display at its annual developers conference, as well as a new simplified user interface for its smartphones. The company also presented new developer tools for its voice-controlled digital assistant Bixby and SmartThings platform for connected consumer devices.

Samsung said the foldable display "lays the foundation for a new kind of mobile experience". The company is keen to work with developers on the new platform to generate original applications, and the new One UI is part of the plan to create a new experience for mobile customers. 

Simple UI for one-handed use

The One UI comes with a "clean and minimal design", Samsung said, keeping the most relevant content on the bottom half of the screen so it's more natural and comfortable for one-handed use. The experience was re-engineered to reduce clutter and distractions, allowing the user to better focus and quickly navigate their phone, according to the company.

The Infinity Flex Display together with One UI is expected to allow users to do things they couldn’t do with an ordinary smartphone. The first device with the foldable display is expected to offer a compact smartphone that unfolds to reveal a larger display for multitasking and viewing content. As the device is unfolded, the app experience will transition from the smaller display to the larger display, with the latter able to support three active apps at once. 

The company showed a 'disguised device' in dimmed lighting at the conference and did not say when it expects the first phone with the folded display to reach the market, but a 2019 launch is considered likely. Because the Infinity Flex Display is a next generation platform, Samsung said it wants developers to participate from the beginning. 

The company is also working with Google and the larger Android developer community to exploit fully the potential of the new form factor and optimise the foldable user experience. Google announced separately at its own Android Dev Summit that the Android operating system will be adapted to support the new device category 'foldables', including both one- and two-screen devices and 'screen continuity' to continue using an app seamlessly from the smaller to the larger screen. In addition to Samsung's device next year, Google said it expects more Android manufacturers to introduce foldables. 

Bixby Capsules, with more languages

At the conference, Samsung also released the Bixby Developer Studio to help developers take advantage of Bixby in their own applications. This includes creating 'Bixby Capsules' – features or services for Bixby – that can be offered to consumers in the Bixby Marketplace. Samsung said the developer tools will also help adapt capsules from mobile phones and TVs to home appliances and other products across the Samsung portfolio. 

As part of its efforts to scale Bixby services, Samsung also is expanding support to five new languages in the coming months: British English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. To date, the assistant has been available only in Korean, Chinese and American English. 

Tools for SmartThings

Samsung is also building its IoT ecosystem with a new suite of tools in the redesigned SmartThings Developer Workspace. These enhanced tools include SmartThings Cloud Connector, SmartThings Device Kit and SmartThings Hub Connector. Developers can build and launch applications on the platform, as well as integrate cloud-connected, Zigbee and Z-Wave devices.

Additionally, the Works with SmartThings (WWST) certification programme was upgraded to give developers direct access to SmartThings experts and resources. WWST helps ensure devices and services are fully optimized for the platform. 

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Categories: Mobile & Wireless
Companies: Google / Samsung
Countries: World
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