Welcome back to the CNET live at CS2019 I'm Vanessa [UNKNOWN] and the idea of foldable phones has been a hot topic of conversation here at [UNKNOWN] for at least the 5 years that I've been coming.
But 2019 might finally be the year that we see this dream come to reality with tech companies announcing plans To bring them to market.
Now with me today is Suzanne De Silva, director of product strategy and marketing at Samsung, to give us a preview of the phones of the future.
Now Suzanne, thank you so much for being with us today.
Thanks for having me.
And you already gave us a preview of what Samsung is working on in terms of foldables at the developer's conference.
I guess my first question is what took so long?
This year, 2019, is the perfect blend of consumer interest in this technology and technology advancements.
Consumers have been pushing what smart phones can do for quite a while.
Every year they're doing more and more.
They're spending more and more time on these devices, and they need bigger displays.
But, this is a smartphone.
It's supposed to be portable.
And so we're going to fix that by giving them a phone that balances the need for a small screen and a big screen with the foldable device that we'll bring to market in the first half of 2019.
In the first half of 2019.
Is that new information cuz I was [UNKNOWN] the timing of this.
Yeah it's queit now.
It's coming very soon according to.
Do you see this being for everybody who owns a smart phone?
Is this a [UNKNOWN] product?
Who is this for?
Right, it's for person like myself.
So here is Samsung we build products for each Target consumer segment out there.
The person that's gonna want this flexible display is someone like myself that is on the go constantly.
So I need the portability of a smaller screen.
So the front of this device has a screen that's 4.6 inches.
So say I'm browsing CNET, right?
I'm browsing through the articles.
I'm looking for something interesting, and something catches my eye.
Well, I'm on the go.
Maybe I find myself.
Want to sit down.
Now I can open up this display all 7.3 inches of it and have an immersive experience with that article.
Dial into the videos, the videos, and all that kind of stuff.f
Now with a foldable device of that size is it going to be bulkky?
Are there any concessions to having a device that is foldable and that size?
Design wise, UI-wise, are there any challenges that we're gonna give up when we have a foldable phone?
Well, to your first question, why did it take so long?
We wanted to make sure we got this right, right?
We wanted to give the consumer the ultimate in portability.
So it's light, it's easy to carry.
It's easy to put in your pocket, right, so pocketability is there.
In addition, from a UI perspective we've done a couple of things that are really interesting.
You've heard of the one UI that we're rolling out through all our devices, right?
And the idea of one UI is the fact that here at Samsung we understand that you're always on the go and you wanna use your phones with one hand.
And so one UI is clean, it's minimalistic, and it helps with using your phone with one hand.
The other thing that we did with this device is Something called continuity, right?
So things that you start on the smaller display, the 4.6 inches, you can continue without interruption on a 7.3 inch display.
To make all that happen, we worked in partnership with our friends at Google.
And another really cool thing that I find myself doing, how many times are you actually only doing one thing on your smartphone?
So when you open up that beautiful Infinity Flex display, you can now multitask with three apps.
So imagine you're You know, cooking something, right?
You got the video instructions.
You got the recipes and perhaps you're shopping for the stuff that you're gonna buy.
So the portability of the smartphone but the functionality of a tablet whenever you need it?
I couldn't have said it better.
Well, so you already gave us a couple of tidbits of what this Foldable device would look like for Samsung.
Is there anything design wise, because you kind of gave us a very shrouded glimpse at the developer's conference.
How much of that can we expect in the actual device of what we saw?
Is it gonna be completely different.
Yeah, so it was a tease at the developer conference.
We're really excited to tell the world that, you know, we finally got the Flexible display, right?
It's a feat of engineering to get it right.
We had to get the right material, so we got polyamide.
Then polyamide naturally is yellow in tinge, and we have crystal and beautiful immersive displays, so we needed to get it clear.
And polyamide is plastic for us or-
Yeah, it's a substrate.
Yeah, exactly and so-
So you're not using polyamide is what you're saying?
We are using polyamide.
You are, polyamide, okay.
So but we had to reinforce it cuz alone, it's brittle.
So we put seven layers of polymer on it.
We had to find the right kind of adhesive to get it together so it's durable, yet flexible.
So you mentioned.
And you've kind of already mentioned some of the design challenges.
Are there any other challenges that you faced or that you had to, or hurdles that you had to clear before bringing this to market?
Yeah, I think just starting from consumer paypoints.
It's the ability to have the benefit of the small screen and the portability and honestly, the reachability, so that when you're on the go you can operate this device with one hand.
That was a huge consideration.
And also the ability to have continuity so that you're not starting things on the small screen that you can't pick up on the big screen and vice-versa.
So those were some of the software challenges that we had to overcome.
And of course, the ability to use three apps at the same time.
And when you have a folding or bendable display like that, is it just the display that has to bend?
Or are there other components That you know have to figure out how to bend inside the phone as well.
Yeah I'm so glad you asked.
So yeah absolutely.
It's not just the screen that's bending and so how do we pull it all together.
Well we looked to swish Swiss wash makers for inspiration and there's actually an articulated spine that helps with the frictionless closing and opening of the display.
Another little tidbit about that, that we didn't know about the Samson FUll Devoy, Thank you Allah.
Lastly, it's probably gonna take a while, early adopters I'm sure, I'm super pumped about this!
I'm sold already.
But it's gonna take a while to get to mainstream consumers.
Do you see this becoming mainstream?
Do you see this becoming as big as a smartphone?
Yeah absolutely, this is the future of the smartphone, right.
Consumers are spending all their time and then some on these devices.
Think about how far you actually are away From your smartphone, you're probably not very far are you?
And so back in 2011 we introduced the Note, the tablet form factor which Samsung was the first.
But then back in 2011 it was different times for mobile right?
And so with consumers using their devices a whole lot more.
SUZANNE: -now, than they ever have in the past.
This is the future of smart phones as we know it.
WOMAN: And Suzanne, this couldn't come at a better time, because in the market right now we're looking at the smart- Smart phone adoption, or the people aren't buying smart phones as much as they were before.
There isn't that wow factor anymore, people are trying to innovate with new features.
This might actually be that feature that's going to revive the smart phone category.
That one feature that we were looking for to finally convince us to upgrade our device, so I'm excited.
Yeah absolutely, so in 2019 as consumers I would say that growth has slowed in general.
However, in the premium segment, growth has never been better.
So yes, this new category of smartphone, which incorporates the flexible display, is definitely the future, and Samsung's at the forefront.
Thank you so much Susan for being with us today.
We really appreciate all the new little insights that we got of the Samsng foldable phone.
So don't go anywhere.
We are going to be right back after this break.