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Samsung hints it’s working on a sliding screen phone

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 may indeed be the best foldable phone on the market, and it looks like the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will follow. But the next frontier for Samsung’s folding phones and display technology may be sliding screens.

This is implied by the new OLED Era microsite of Samsung Display, Samsung’s display maker arm. The newly launched subsite showcases some thin and flexible OLED panels from Samsung Display.

While the square folding screens found on current Galaxy Fold phones have come to light, the site also suggests that what Samsung calls “Flex OLED” may one day appear on phones with sliding screens.

Using ultra-thin glass (UTG), Samsung can produce a phone or tablet with a sliding screen, allowing compact devices to turn into larger screen handhelds.

We’ve seen this concept before on the Oppo X 2021 concept phone, where the phone extends outwards and flattens the edges of the foldable screen and slides towards the back of the phone to create a larger screen. Samsung’s “Slideable Flex” concept seems to follow this system.

Doing so can make a phone clunky when its screen is rolled back. But the ability to have foldable screens – as seen on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 – with 1.4R curvature could allow Samsung’s swipeable screen to hug a phone’s case more tightly, thus making the device thinner.

“An even sharper, cleaner fold and less space in between. The remarkably small 1.4R curvature of the Samsung Flex OLED creates a sharper bend for more compact and precise smartphone designs,” Samsung said. “Folding stress is minimized by the cascade structure of the screen layers, making such a small curve possible.”

Of course, Samsung never mentioned the sliding screen devices it’s working on – all we have is the render image above based on our thoughts. But Samsung has long had innovative display technology and device form factors, so trying to make a phone with a folding and sliding screen isn’t a big leap forward.

Innovations in Flex OLED address one of our criticisms of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 by making the next-gen Fold phone have a sharper curve so it folds more flat – it’s pretty chunky when folded.

We’ll probably have to wait until at least 2022 before we see what Samsung is working on next. The company is expected to launch the Samsung Galaxy S22 series after that. But we feel we are on the threshold of a true era of devices with innovative and flexible displays.