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Samsung's foldable phone is here, with brand-new One UI for Android

A totally new phone design needs a totally fresh interface.

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Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung's foldable phone is coming. Called the Galaxy X, Galaxy F, Galaxy Fold or Galaxy Flex, we now know a bit more than we did when Samsung first gave us a sneak peek at its foldable phone of the future at its annual developer conference in San Francisco this past November.

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2 of 21 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

On Feb. 11, Samsung confirmed in a teaser video that it would announce? show off? its foldable phone on Feb. 20, the same day as the Galaxy S10 launch.

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3 of 21 Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

This Korean lettering spells out "The future unfolds."

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4 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

This is exactly how much of the foldable phone we've seen in person: On Nov. 7, 2018, Samsung SVP of Mobile Marketing Justin Dennison pulled a prototype from his jacket pocket.

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5 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

Fully opened, Samsung's foldable phone is about the size of a tablet. Samsung calls this screen technology the Infinity Flex Display.

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6 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung said it shrank or completely redesigned several components to make the two hemispheres thin enough to comfortably carry.

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7 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

Closed, it's the width of a regular phone.

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8 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung also refreshed the look of the software that rides on top of Android, calling it One UI. You'll find it on Samsung phones going forward, including the foldable phone and likely the forthcoming Galaxy S10.

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9 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

One UI only works with Android 9 Pie, and resembles some of Pie's design concepts. The Galaxy S9 Plus running Android Oreo is on the left; on the right you have a demo Galaxy S9 Plus with One UI on Android Pie.

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10 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

Large, rounded rectangles form the main theme, and you can enable a dark mode.

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11 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

The changes to multitasking are stark. Now apps are separated by panes you can flick through horizontally, rather than vertically. You can also tap an icon below to open an app or swipe up to see them all. There are a few similarities to iOS here.

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12 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

The new look extends to menus and submenus.

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13 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

Here's the update to Bixby Home, which you get to by swiping to the left from the home screen.

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14 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

Although One UI is supposed to concentrate actions at the bottom of the screen, you still have to pull down from the top to see your notifications and quick settings.

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15 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung's edge interface looks about the same as it does now, with rounded icons.

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16 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

You can enable the dark theme in the settings.

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17 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

If you want to ditch the onscreen navigation buttons, a submenu lets you use full-screen gestures. Hard-press where the home button should be. Swipe up on either side of the space to go back or open your recent apps.

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18 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

One UI aims to give you options when you need them and declutter when you don't. For example, in the dialer here you see three navigation options at the bottom of the display.

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19 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

Start dialing a number, and they disappear. Clear the number and they return to serve you.

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20 of 21 Angela Lang/CNET

Your contacts menu now groups people alphabetically, giving one more example of One UI's quest to update Samsung's phone navigation. 

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21 of 21 Juan Garzon / CNET

What we don't see are all the ways One UI will work with a foldable phone's various screen sizes and orientations. For that, we have to wait.

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