Samsung took the stage at its developer conference to announce all sorts of new products and features, but the headline-grabbing one is its new flexible display technology called “Infinity Flex Display.” That’s an evolution of the current “infinity display” branding we see used on Samsung’s last couple generations of flagship phones, and this marks an entirely new generation of technology. It’s launching alongside a yet-to-be-named Samsung-branded flexible phone, currently referred to in the rumor mill as the “Galaxy X.”
Samsung’s device using the Infinity Flex Display has a 7.3-inch panel that’s designed to be folded in half vertically, and the fold happens inward so that the display is protected while the device is folded. (This particular device also has an additional traditional fixed display on the outside of one half, called the “cover display,” to be used when the device is folded shut.) Samsung says the display will withstand “hundreds of thousands” of folds, thanks to a new screen covering and thinner overall display components that can handle the tight bend without breaking.
— Faryaab Sheikh (@Faryaab) November 7, 2018
But Samsung isn’t keeping this technology exclusive to its own devices: it goes further than what Samsung showed off in its reference device, and will be available to other companies that want to develop foldable phones. Infinity Flex Display is capable of folding inward, as shown off in Samsung’s prototype phone, but also folding outward (without a cover display), rolled up tightly, and stretched or bent without folding over entirely. There are tons of possibilities once manufactures have the option of buying a flexible display from Samsung just as they would a fixed flat one today.
Alongside Samsung’s announcement of the foldable display hardware, Google is pledging support at the software level to make sure Android and apps will work properly on devices that can seamlessly change their display size.
And Samsung didn’t stop at just announcing new flexible display technology; it also has new displays with a variety of cutout and notch options. There’s a “new infinity display” that pushes the display size even further to the edges (expect this to be in a Galaxy S10), and then three other fresh designs: the Infinity V, Infinity U and Infinity O. Looking at the image to the right, you can see why they take on those names: one has a V-shaped notch, the other a U-shaped notch, and the third an off-center O-shaped cutout that lets the display flow around a camera.
I wouldn’t expect Samsung itself to take advantage of any of these, at least in its high-end Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines that have held strongly onto the “no notch” position thus far, but all three of these new “Infinity” display styles offer unique options for other manufacturers that want to use fantastic Samsung display technology but have designs that necessitate a notch or cutout.