It’s already clear the smartphone trend of 2019 will be foldable devices, and Google is welcoming it with open arms. At this year’s Android Dev Summit, the company announced it’s adding support for what’s known as “foldables,” allowing Android apps to work seamlessly with the new form factor.
Dave Burke, Google’s vice president of engineering for Android, took to the stage to explain how the company plans to go about embracing the new concept. While he didn’t go into extreme detail, he did reveal that resizable flags will be added so that apps can respond to folding and unfolding. The company also said we’ll see more foldable phone features in new Android releases, so it’s highly likely to be included in Android Q.
But what exactly is a “foldable” device? It’s considered a phone and a tablet that comes in two variants — two-screen devices and one-screen devices. For those concerned about everyday portability, a foldable looks like a phone when it’s folded, so it can fit in either your pocket or handbag.
Foldables offer what Google calls screen continuity. “For example, you might start a video on the folded smaller screen while on the go, but later sit down and want a more immersive experience. You can simply unfold the device to get a larger tablet-sized screen. As you unfold, the app seamlessly transfers to the bigger screen without missing a beat,” Burke explained.
The news comes the same day as Samsung’s Developer Conference where the company announced its foldable phone technology. Known as the Infinity Flex Display, users will be able to have a compact smartphone that unfolds to provide a larger, more immersive display for multitasking and viewing content. Supporting Google’s earlier announcement, the app experience is said to “seamlessly transition from the smaller display to the larger display as the device unfolds.” You’ll also be able to use three active apps simultaneously whenever you’re on the larger display.
While Samsung remained tight-lipped on availability for its foldable smartphone, Google mentioned that it worked closely with the company to create a device that is expected to launch early next year.