Samsung launched Galaxy Z Flip back in February 2020. The phone has a unique mode called as the ‘Flex mode’. It’s 6.7-inch display splits into 2 different displays which run different contexts from the app.
Google is working with Samsung to realize the full potential of this feature. They released a Youtube app which leverages this unique split. You can fold your phone and rest it on any surface and watch your videos. The lower half can act as a second related context which can show search, related videos, comments or controls.
Here are some demonstrations from Samsung’s inbuilt apps:
It seems to be designed differently than split-screen multitasking. It may have a re-implementation from OS level to support the new context of apps with better hardware performance.
Google has confirmed the mode will also be available for more manufacturers. We also forsee the single fold will becomes ‘many folds’ as new foldable phones launch in the markets.
- Foldable phones in ‘Flex mode’ gives a hands-free experience for users who can now place it on a table. Watching videos, attending videos calls and recording videos will be definitely easier. Make sure you use these capabilities for those beautiful hyperlapse shots .
- Aspect Ratios and content: Placing content for Flex-mode friendly apps needs to be now thought through. Square videos are fine in this mode. The problem is when you are watching videos aspect ratio 16:9 videos, it gets demoted to a small space in the top part. You can zoom in and position your video to an area of comfort. We will have to wait and watch what users feel about this video viewing experience.
- There are many possibilities of interactions between different contexts of the same app or between 2 apps. Think a fitness app; where you can watch an instructional video and count your reps in the lower half. A stock brokerage app where the live charts are on the top and quick order buttons are on the bottom.
- The interactions could also be within 2 different apps. Imagine editing photos in an image editor app while you share them with your friends in Whatsapp or Instagram.
- Android 11 Developer Preview 2 can detect the angle of the foldable phone. So this is a helpful way to show relevant notifications and errors to the user.
- There could be a possibility that future folded phones come with a battery-saving technique which restricts usage to only certain folds.