CES: Samsung Flex Hybrid Mobile Device Can Fold and Slide

Samsung Display has debuted a concept mobile device that both folds and slides, the Flex Hybrid. The company’s “smart mobile device” prototype unfolds to reveal a display on the left side, with the right side sliding outward to expand screen real estate. The Flex Hybrid’s OLED screen expands from a 10.5-inch 4:3 configuration to a 12.4-inch 16:10 display. Samsung Display also previewed two larger displays at CES 2023, the Flex Slidable Solo, which expands in a single direction, and the Flex Slidable Duet, which grows on both sides, from 13 or 14 inches of screen space to 17.3 inches.

“It’s not hard to imagine the display eventually being used in a foldable smartphone, allowing the device to be unfolded for a small tablet-style experience and then un-slid when you want to enjoy a film or game on a larger screen,” The Verge writes of the Flex Hybrid, adding that “it might be a while” before it reaches the masses, “if ever.”

That caveat is based on the fact that “the prototype builds upon concept devices that Samsung Display has been showing off for years,” though it has “yet to release any of these more advanced displays in a consumer-ready product,” with the exception of foldable phones, according to The Verge, which says the Flex Hybrid is the first Samsung prototype to combine foldable and slidable screens in one device.

“Samsung wants gadgets of the future to do more than just fold in half,” writes CNET, noting that “the Flex Hybrid folds closed like a notebook, but opens up to reveal a tablet-sized display with an adjustable screen.”

Foldable phones account for a small fraction of phone sales, but “the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip have become well-established within Samsung’s mobile device lineup,” CNET reports, adding that “the company’s early entry into the foldable phone space has given it an edge in terms of market share as Samsung accounts for more than 88 percent of the foldable smartphone market, according to Omdia.”

The 17-inch large-screen slidable display (previewed at Intel Innovation 2022 by Samsung Display CEO JS Choi in September and making its first “public appearance” at CES) “is very portable at only 13-14 inches but can be expanded to 17.3 inches for multitasking purposes, playing games, or watching movies,” Samsung explained in a press release.

Samsung also unveiled a concept it’s calling the New Digital Cockpit, targeting self-driving vehicles. Combining 34-inch and 15.6-inch OLED panels, Samsung says the large screen can be used to display entertainment in autonomous driving mode. “Samsung Display wants the world’s self-driving car startups to know it has the equipment ready for when their vehicles hit the road,” says The Verge.

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