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Samsung’s first-gen folding phone was rough around the edges, but with each new device comes plenty of refinement, proving the tech is here to stay. It’s no secret that the company is working on follow-ups to last year’s Galaxy Z lineup, and we might be looking at a preview of what’s to come. As part of Display Week 2021, Samsung Display unveiled some new OLED panels today that could hint at the future of smartphones.
All four displays provide a good idea of where the folding Z-series could go in 2021 and beyond. By far, the most exciting panel shown off is the new “S-Foldable display,” which is capable of folding along two unique creases. If that sounds familiar, it’s because this design looks a lot like the rumored dual-hinge folding phone we heard about back in March. A device sporting this screen could essentially triple in size once fully unfolded.
Though not quite as eye-catching, the other three designs also offer a fun vision of what’s ahead for Samsung’s gadgets. If you’ve been dreaming of that rumored folding Galaxy tablet, you’ll want to pay special attention to the new 17″ OLED display. Essentially a super-sized Galaxy Z Fold2, it offers a massive screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio once unfolded.
The Slideable OLED display ditches the fold to demonstrate how a screen could extend horizontally without relying on hinges. Meanwhile, the new UPC (Under Panel Camera) OLED tech reveals a hidden camera behind your laptop screen, allowing the bezel to extend all the way to the top of a device without moving the webcam to the hinge or removing the camera altogether.
While there’s no definite timeline (or guarantee, for that matter) of when these new panels might find their way into the hands of consumers, all four paint a picture for what the next several years could look like for mobile devices. Without a new Galaxy Note to show off this year, all eyes are on what Samsung has planned for its next folding phone. Expect to see what a Galaxy Z Fold3 looks like later this year.
While Samsung’s photos of each prototype give a good idea of how these panels would work, it’s also developed a concept video to show off future devices in action. Most of these gadgets function how you’d expect — the under panel camera delivers a full-screen video chat experience, for example — but it demonstrates a few of the ways these new display tools could fit into your life.
The video kicks off with the coolest feature: a phone equipped with the S-Foldable display could become an alarm clock once draped over a dock to display the time, videos, and more. It’s capable of shrinking into a shirt pocket or expanding into a full-size tablet. Meanwhile, Samsung demos its 17″ folding display as a laptop, complete with a virtual keyboard that can be used propped up or lying down. A few other additions, including a portable display that can connect to your phone, are also shown off for the first time. You can check out the complete video below.