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Google, Samsung working on 'special version of Android' for foldable phone

Our years-long wait for the Samsung foldable phone looks to be creeping closer to an end.

Published onOctober 26, 2018

Samsung folding phone design concept.
  • The Samsung foldable phone is creeping ever closer to finalization, a new report confirms.
  • It appears Google is involved with the development of the device, as it works with Samsung to create a unique version of Android.
  • It’s possible we might hear some official word on the foldable phone next month, but it likely won’t see release until mid-2019.

The Samsung foldable phone — internally codenamed “Winner,” if you can believe it — has been in development for years. It looks like we’re finally approaching the finalization of the project, which means the foldable device is coming very soon.

In a new report from Bloomberg, we learn that the foldable phone is now down to two design configurations: folding in half in a portrait style, or in a landscape style. The portrait style appears to be winning the day (conceptualized above), which means the landscape style (conceptualized below) is likely not going to happen:

The reasoning behind the possible final design choice being the portrait-style model is to make the device easier to hold in one hand, according to sources speaking with Bloomberg.

Interestingly, it appears Google is working with Samsung to create a unique version of Android for the foldable phone. Since Android will have to look and function differently on the foldable device than it does on any other, this makes sense. From the report:

Samsung and Google have been working on developing a special version of the Android operating software for the phone, whose final user interface will depend largely on which of the two designs is chosen, one person said. Samsung may not be able to launch it commercially until the second quarter, another person said.
What we know so far about Samsung's foldable phone (Updated: Feb. 19)

A previous report suggested we could see the foldable phone at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco in November, but this news that the final design hasn’t even been picked yet suggests that is unlikely. However, a source speaking with Bloomberg says that “a team of engineers … plans to accompany smartphone division chief DJ Koh to the event to present a detailed conceptual image of the phone, its features and user interface.”

It is likely the Samsung foldable phone will hit the market in the middle of 2019, although since the device has been in development for so long, it’s possible we could need to wait even longer than that.

NEXT: The foldable phone can’t come soon enough for Samsung

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