Samsung has a new prototype display that could send its folding phones in a new direction: 360 degrees.
Samsung Display, the subsidiary that makes the company’s screens, showed off the new prototype display and hinge at CES 2023. The “Flex In & Out” display can rotate 360 degrees, meaning it can be folded inward and outward, company spokesperson John Lucas told The Verge in an email.
In addition, the display comes with a different hinge design that supposedly creates a significantly less visible crease. That’s because the “water-drop hinge” could allow the display to form a looser shape — like a waterdrop — when folded inward. This subtler hinge would also put less stress on the display.
It’s not the first time Samsung Display has shown off a “Flex In & Out” prototype embracing the fold-in-all-directions design. In 2021, a “Flex In & Out” display also made an appearance at South Korea’s International Meeting for Information Displays (IMID), reports Tom’s Guide. However, the approach was different, and the display folded like an “S” with multiple segments. As of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which was released in August 2022, Samsung’s Fold line is still using displays that only fold flat in one direction.
It’s possible the new screen could show up in the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, though. Rumors have suggested the device could feature a less visible crease thanks to a similar hinge design.
The design would fix what some see as the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4’s flawed “U”-shaped hinge, which creates a prominent crease. It would also make the Galaxy Z Fold 5 more similar to foldable smartphone rivals with less prominent creases, like the Oppo Find N2 and the third-gen Motorola Razr.
It’s not known yet when Samsung will release the Z Fold 5, though we expect the company to release it alongside the Galaxy Z Flip 5 in August. In the meantime, all eyes are on the new Samsung Galaxy S23 series, which Samsung will launch during its upcoming Galaxy Unpacked event on February 1st.