Foldable phones have become a buzzphrase, with little-known startups like Royole announcing one and powerhouses like Samsung previewing its first tangible product. Now, Google is announcing support for the form factor.
The company made a new category of Android devices it’s calling “foldables”. Currently, there are two kinds of foldables: two-screen devices and one-screen. When folded, foldables look like phones, but when unfolded, they look like tablets. While speaking at the Android Developer Summit, Dave Burke, VP of engineering, said that Google is “enhancing Android to take advantage of this new form factor with as little work as necessary".
Google has also published guidance for developers to start adapting their apps and experiences for foldables. Specifically, it is pointing developers to an existing feature called “screen continuity.” That's the API Android apps use to know when the screen size has, for instance, rotated. In other words, Google is saying, for Android apps to support foldables, developers need to know how to correctly implement and use this feature.
The company also said it is working closely with Samsung on how Android will develop with foldables, and it confirmed Samsung "plans to offer" a device next year. Of course, Samsung just previewed its first prototype foldable while at SDC 2018. It's still unnamed, and Samsung did its best to dim the lighting during the show to disguise how the phone looks and works. But it promised it can fold and run up to three app simultaneously.
This space is quickly exploding, so we suspect more and more companies will be working on foldables. Stay tuned to Pocket-lint for the latest.