Samsung shows off foldable clamshell smartphone concept

If you have fond memories of your old flip phone, there is reason to be excited about the new form concept for the Infinity Flex Display that Samsung teased at its annual Developer Conference this week.

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Samsung's Galaxy Fold phone may have given the company a few headaches before it launched last month, but that hasn't put it off from already imagining ambitious next steps for its Infinity Flex Display. 

On stage at the annual Samsung Developer Conference this week in San Jose, Sally Hyesoon Jeong, head of Samsung's framework R&D group, teased a new bendable phone concept – one that can fold in a similar fashion to the flip phones that reached peak popularity twenty years ago. 

A demo video screened at the conference shows the Galaxy Fold opening as we know it – that is, vertically – before changing into the new model, and then, for its grand finale, shutting in half horizontally like a clamshell.

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Jeong was in fact using the video as a mock-up for Samsung's One UI 2 software, an update on its Android user interface that she called a requirement that comes hand in hand with the Galaxy Fold's innovative form.

The company since tweeted the demo saying that attendees had got a sneak peek at "a brand new form factor" it is exploring for foldable devices.

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A demo video showed the Galaxy Fold opening vertically before changing into the new model and shutting horizontally, like a clamshell.

Image: Samsung

"This brand-new form factor that we're now exploring will not only easily fit in your pocket, but it also changes the way you use your phone," said Jeong at the event. The new technology would indeed make for a device that folds inward as a compact square.

While Samsung did not make any formal announcements for what sounds very much like a Motorola 2.0, the teaser seems to confirm similar news leaked earlier this year by Bloomberg.

Citing anonymous sources, the report said that the company was planning to release a new square foldable phone for 2020, with a 6.7-inch display and a more affordable price tag. The current Galaxy Fold ships at $1,980.

This new candidate to Samsung's foldable devices catalogue shows that the firm is trying to cement its lead over competitors in the booming foldables market. 

While the Galaxy Fold has already hit shelves, Huawei's own take on a foldable phone, the $2,400 Mate X, isn't expected to start shipping outside of China before next month after several delays.

Motorola is also teasing a foldable screen in a new version of its Razr phone, which is rumored to launch in November – months after the initial summer release date it had announced.

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Foldable screens are much more delicate than traditional ones, and scratch more easily because they are made of plastic. Concerns have also been raised about how resistant they are in the long-term, and whether they can sustain repeated usage.

It still remains to be seen whether Samsung has cracked that equation.