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May 17, 2021
☕ Good morning! Google I/O starts tomorrow. Get set...
Samsung Display shows off new tech

Samsung Display, one of the many arms of Samsung Electronics, and just one arm of the Samsung conglomerate, has a bunch of fresh tech it is showing off this week, with Z-folding foldable displays, a rollable display, a massive 17-inch OLED foldable, and more, with an online exhibition taking place at Display Week 2021.

  • Samsung Display only published details, at this stage, in Korean, here.
  • I’ve included pics of each of the new bits unveiled, followed by some explanations as to what we’re seeing.

What’s on show:

  • This glimpse of the future includes a Z or S-folding display, which flexes out to a full 7.2-inch screen when folded out. It folds twice to trim down the display to a traditional smartphone form factor. A panel on the left holds cameras, the rest of the electronics, and gives you a spot to hang on to the device.
  • The sizing puts it somewhere smaller than the Galaxy Fold 2 at 7.6-inches, while the main display on the Galaxy Z Flip is 6.7-inches.
  • Staying with the smartphone-style concepts, next up is a Samsung Display’s “slidable” or rollable design. It matches what we’ve seen from other makers including what we expected to see from LG’s rollable before development was halted and the mobile business was dissolved.
  • I’m excited to see the 17-inch folding display, which Samsung Display says offers a 4:3 tablet screen when folded and a large monitor of sorts when unfolded.
  • I mean, moderately excited. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold laptop had a 13.3-inch screen so it’s not exactly a game-changer, but does look improved.
  • And the last of the four new concepts trotted out here is set to move under-display camera tech into laptops.
  • As you can see above, Samsung calls this its under panel camera (UPC) “display for IT” but clearly, a full-display laptop with a decent webcam would be useful
  • Samsung Display says this tech is enabled by “increasing the transmittance” of the screen area where the camera is located, which is to say, letting light in under the panel.

What it means:

  • Samsung Display does of course supply Samsung devices directly, but just like Samsung’s SoC and memory manufacturing, supplies third-parties as well.
  • Samsung Display is one of the leaders in the industry, tends to stick towards bleeding edge. It shut down its LCD panel production last year, and of course Samsung was first to market with its original Z Fold, all the way back in September 2019.
  • How long until this hits new devices? Display tech is only one piece of the puzzle, but with Samsung happy for all comers to check out the latest, it’s possible it is drumming up buyers ahead of testing production. So, I’d guess 2022 devices might be too soon, but it’s in the works…

📸 Sharp’s new Aquos R6 has a giant 1-inch camera sensor, a first for smartphones in years and the biggest anywhere right now, with Leica-designed optics. It could be a Japan-only release or see a limited wider release, based on Sharp’s usual approach (Android Authority). The last phone with a sensor like this looked more like a point-and-shoot camera, the Panasonic Lumix CM-1.

👀 Leak: LG’s final flagship, the Velvet 2 Pro, is only available to employees at a cut-price (Android Authority).

👋 The next OnePlus budget phone could launch with the name: the OnePlus Nord CE, a change from the OnePlus Nord N1 5G name that was doing the rounds (Android Authority).

🍎 Apple Music is doing some teasing, with the tagline “Get Ready – Music is About to Change Forever.” Looks like it references ‘Hi-Res Lossless’ and ‘Dolby Atmos’ ahead of a possible new AirPods launch tomorrow, May 18? (MacRumors).

😬 Report: Microsoft investigated Bill Gates before he left the board over an alleged inappropriate relationship (AP).

🥊 Confronting disinformation spreaders on Twitter only makes it worse, MIT scientists say: being corrected for posting false political news only increases further sharing bad content (Vice).

🛍 One of the most aggressive VC-fuelled wars happening in Europe at the moment is fast grocery delivery. There are three that will deliver to me here in Berlin in ~10 minutes, and they really do work. It’s the second coming of ride-sharing apps! (CNBC).

🚗 There’s a 30-minute ridealong video showing what happens when an autonomous vehicle (AV) gets stuck: a Waymo car can’t handle traffic cones, and a YouTuber who documents loads of Waymo rides in Arizona, happens to be on board — the video shows it makes a series of odd decisions, then starts to runs away from support staff (Jalopnik). It’s a 30-min long video but with useful timestamps!

🏃‍♂️ Pipeline attacker DarkSide suddenly goes dark — the Eastern European hackers seem to have disbanded just as the heat was turned on (Ars Technica).

📡 SpaceX Starlink review: When it works, it’s great, but the solution to making it work is more satellites, which isn’t great (The Verge).

🔴 China has landed on Mars, with a six-wheeled rover touching down. Now two nations have landed on Mars successfully! (Space).

🐻 6% of US women and 7% of US men think they could beat up a grizzly bear (Twitter/YouGov).)

Monday Meme


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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