The two-day 2018 Samsung (SSNLF) Developer Conference in San Francisco kicked off Wednesday, November 7, with the company unveiling its long-rumored smartphone with a foldable screen.
Samsung debuted the Infinity Flex Display, which opens up as a foldable tablet that closes into a mobile phone device. It features three distinct screens, including one that can work while the phone is folded, and can open up to form a single 7.3-inch screen. The company also said it can support up to three apps simultaneously on the various screens.
To make the screen foldable, Samsung used an advanced composite polymer that replaces the inflexible glass display. Samsung announced that it will be able to start mass production of the device in the coming months.
The company also unveiled its new One UI smartphone, which succeeds the company's popular Galaxy S9 device as the flagship smartphone from Samsung and will feature the Infinity Flex Display.
Samsung's foldable smartphone has been rumored for months, but unlike Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Report , which unveiled the next generation of its hardware lineup, save for iPhones, at an event last week, Samsung didn't lead off its event with the most enticing news.
Google's head of Android, Glenn Murphy, appeared near the end of the event to talk about how Android would support Samsung's new foldable format and system. At a separate event for Android developers, the Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Report division said it will be working with Samsung on a phone with a foldable screen that will launch in 2019.
Eui-Suk Chung, EVP for R&D, also spoke about Samsung's vision for Bixby, its voice-powered artificial intelligence tool. "It is much more than an assistant, which is why we are looking to AI. By 2020 all Samsung devices will be AI enabled and will be connected to each other. By 2020, we plan to hire more than 20 AI experts and invest $22 billion."
Bixby developer studio allows developers to tweak Bixby to their own specifications using the same software that Samsung's own development team uses, Chung said.
Samsung also discussed how it would be developing its SmartThings platform to build on the internet of things.
"Game-changing technologies like 5G that were experimental are now commercially available," said DJ Koh, president and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications for Samsung Electronics. "We pioneered 5G technology and launched the world's first residential 5G service."