Samsung's new display tech could forge the way to thinner and lighter foldable phones

Woman showing Samsung display Flex In&Out
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Display has shown off a new OLED display that can fold 360 degrees, with the goal of paving the way for foldable phones with new form factors. 

Announced ahead of Samsung's main CES 2024 showcase, the company's display arm revealed the “In&Out Flip” foldable screen. Built around familiar Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 designs, this new display can be both folded inwards and outwards, meaning a single screen can pull double duties as a large inner display and a cover display. 

“In&Out Flip is a technology that can provide a new alternative for consumers who prefer bar-shaped smartphones due to the thickness of foldable products,” said a Samsung Display representative. “When folded outwards, both the front and back of the product can be used as a screen, creating a new user experience.”

While Samsung's foldables have got slimmer and lighter over the past few generations, they are still a fair bit thicker than non-foldable counterparts you'd find on our best Android phones list. 

But by removing the need for a cover display and the components required to form and power one, the In&Out Flip screen could pave the way for notably thinner and lighter foldable phones. 

We've seen such an approach taken with Huawei's folding phones notably the Huawei Mate Xs 2, which has yeilded very thin folding phones. But a lack of a proper western presence has meant such tech hasn't really proliferated the US and UK phone markets. 

There's also an extra feature in that when the In&Out Flip is folded in two it offers front and back screens; how practical these will be or the influence on the durability of phones that adopt this display tech has yet to be seen. 

A question of durability and devices

It's unclear how the 360-folding arc will impact the screen durability and how pronounced any visible fold would be, which could be an issue as some buyers have been put off foldable phones in the past due to the visible crease.

Samsung explained how the durability of the panels was tested using extreme temperatures, bouncing basketballs to test their resilience, as well as more standard tests like immersion in water and rubbing them with sand.

More of the In&Out Flip display will be revealed at Samsung's CES conference alongside "Rollable Flex" display tech, which aims to provide a screen that can be rolled out to five times its original size. So we can expect to see what Samsung has planned for such new screen tech and whether its at the early prototyping stage or nearly ready for use in consumer devices. If it's ready for showtime, maybe is could feature in the rumored Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6.

Other new screen tech from Samsung Display include a microdisplay with ultra-high resolution for immersive extended reality (think a combination of virtual and augmented reality), as well as Samsung’s latest QD-OLED panels among other announcements. 

Check out our CES 2024 hub for all the latest news from the show as it happens. We'll be covering everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops, smart home gadgets, and the latest in AI, so stick with us for the big stories.

And don’t forget to follow us on TikTok for the latest from the CES show floor!

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Staff Writer, Mobile Computing

James Ide is a writer for TechRadar specializing in phones and tablets, having previously worked at The Daily Mirror since 2016, covering news and reviews.  

James loves messing with the latest tech, especially phones due to their incredibly rapid pace of development.

When not surrounded by various devices and/or tinkering with gadgets while putting them through their paces, James has a love of handheld consoles.

He is almost the textbook definition of a geek, who loves sci-fi, comics, games and of course, all things tech. If you think you have a story for him or just want to challenge him at Smash Bros, get in touch.