Samsung's folding smartphone arrives 5 years late

Samsung has just presented its prototype folding smartphone, 7 years after its first public concept. But is not it too late? Is this really the solution? In this form, we are not convinced.

In 2012, during the CES, Samsung presented "Youm", its first flexible screen that will give birth to the manufacturer's "Edge" range a few years later, then the curved Infinity display on the edges. During this event, the producer then provided a (sexist) overview of what might appear to be a completely collapsible device, with a tablet-sized central screen and a smaller smartphone-sized screen.

This image, which you have certainly seen and revised, is used to illustrate many items on flexible screens or the famous "Galaxy X" (later "Galaxy F"), the first flexible smartphone of the Korean manufacturer.

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Seven years later, two months after the CES 2019, Samsung took advantage of its Developer Conference to unveil its first folding smartphone prototype, thus fueling a little more the dreams of the geeks of all walks of life who dreamed from the famous CES. But is not it a little too late?

Two screens for two uses

The "Samsung Galaxy F" therefore has two screens: one of 4.5 inches for a definition of 1960 x 840 pixels and a second, folding – thanks to the Infinity Flex Display technology – of 7.3 inches for a definition of 1536 x 2152 pixels. Relationships a bit exotic, but above all very different to meet specific needs.

The first is intended to serve for fast activities, respond to text messages, read a notification … while the latter is more for multimedia consumption. Samsung seems to have forgotten the daily use.

I will not deliberately mention the design of the smartphone, since it was under the shell during the presentation and we do not know exactly how it looks, but the first taste suggests boundaries and a thick consequence. More in any case than on our current smartphones, and is relatively supposed in view of the paradigm shift it brings.

2019 is not 2012

But we put back the first announcement, that of 2012, in its context. Samsung had just introduced its first Galaxy Note with its "huge" 5.3-inch diagonal screen and was about to launch its Galaxy S III, flagship 4.8 inches. Android Ice Cream Sandwich was starting to hit the market and, with this unified update under a tablet and smartphone system, it was developing the tablet market. Every builder wanted his and was the perfect Christmas present.

At the end of 2011, the tablets looked like this

Now, let's get back to today, or rather tomorrow, when the "Galaxy F" will hit the market. Smartphones are getting bigger and the tablet market is mid-auction, the latter has become more convertible for sharing shares on laptops.

In this market, can we really think that a folding terminal that offers the best of 2012 (a small smartphone and a tablet) still has an interest?

Size too small and wrong

It is normal to feel that "it would be nice to have smaller smartphones", manufacturers do not impose blind trends and analyze both their sales data and market research. This expansion of smartphone screens is "required" by the majority. The proof: even Apple has started!

So, what is the use of a 4.5-inch screen in small definition, especially if the same dimensions of the phone are not so small? As for the big screen, it could be interesting for multimedia contents, which are generally found in the 16: 9, 18: 9 or even 21: 9 format. So why adopt 5: 7 if not to enjoy monstrous bands black on the screen?

To make personal use, most of my smartphone's consumption revolves around social networks and messaging applications. In the first two cases, the comfort that gives me my big 6 inch screen in Full HD is essential for me and I do not see myself coming back to a 4.5 inch screen, losing so much information published on a single screen. And even for messaging, many images and multimedia content are shared today and I no longer see myself using a smaller screen of 5.2 or 5.5 inches.

Yes, it's a telephone in hand – Image credit: Zoolander (film)

On the contrary, I can not see my web pages or mine chronology Twitter, now thinking vertically for our smartphones, on a screen in the 5: 7 format.

Neither screen corresponds to my use, and I do not think I'm particularly different from the usual uses of the population for what I can see by throwing a curious eye on the shoulder of my fellow citizens in the subway.

5 years of delay

This prototype is so surprising from a technical point of view, and certainly something good will come out (like the curved screen Galaxy Note Edge that was found useless at that time and that we appreciate today on the Galaxy S9), but today it seems more like a "test" concept "of a true smartphone designed for everyday life.

In 2012, we dreamed of CES videos. In 2014, while the Galaxy S5, with its 5.1-inch screen, had been announced and the tablets were still in vogue, this hybrid would certainly have been a great success. But on the eve of 2019, it is difficult to see real interest in this device.

The software first of all

Check if the software optimization will create new usage and new trends. After all, Google also worked on this.

But was not it enough to optimize the current software? Samsung has come to understand it with the Samsung One user interface, you can make a smartphone with a large screen that can be used in one hand. Starting with the improvement of the system's UX to focus most of the interactions on an easily accessible area, and further reducing the edges a bit, we could keep the same format as the current one, zoom in on the & quot; display area up to perhaps reach 7.3 inches and facilitate the user experience.

Yet, the 2012 I still live somewhere in the corner of my head is still screaming for excitement from yesterday at the idea of ​​impressing people in a bar with my foldable phone, belittling at the same time chatter about these high rollers that emphasize their Bluetooth headsets and their LED tablets.

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