Last year, Samsung redefined smartphone design as we know it with the introduction of its first foldable device, the Galaxy Fold. While that category-defining smartphone was created with a focus on the action of unfolding (i.e., “What if you could unfold your phone to experience apps and content on a larger screen?”), the design of the company’s second foldable device, the Galaxy Z Flip, focuses on the opposite action: folding your smartphone to make it more compact.
As Tae-joong Kim, Vice President of Samsung Electronics’ Mobile Communications Business, explained, by combining a pocket-friendly form with striking style, “The Galaxy Z lineup introduces a new identity to the foldable mobile category. One that adds a fashionable touch to users’ lives.”
Follow along as we examine how Samsung refined each aspect of the Galaxy Z Flip’s design to offer users a whole new mobile experience.
The Galaxy Z Flip is available in a choice of three stylish colors: the bold and creative Mirror Purple, the luxurious Mirror Black, which features a slight bluish tint, and the elegant and refined Mirror Gold. During the manufacturing process, Samsung combined a smooth glass finish with precise processing, resulting in layers of colors that reflect a range of hues depending on the angle at which the device is folded.
For those who like to dress simply, the Galaxy Z Flip can add an eye-catching touch to your outfit that can take your look to the next level. Created for those who want their technology to be as iconic as their wardrobe, the Galaxy Z Flip Thom Browne Edition features a pebble grey exterior adorned with the iconic New York fashion brand’s signature colors.
It’s All in the Details
Measuring just 73.6mm across, the Galaxy Z Flip is small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand, and slips easily into a pocket or bag. To make the device as compact and portable as possible, Samsung tested out numerous form factors before ultimately landing on the design you see before you. No detail was overlooked. The design was contemplated down to the micrometer to ensure that it would offer users a comfortable grip.
The finished design also reflects careful consideration of usability, as evidenced by convenient features like the cover display. When the Galaxy Z Flip is closed, the cover display presents users with information such as the date, time, their device’s battery status and more, and when they’re taking a selfie, it allows them to see how they look. When the device is opened, Samsung’s intuitive One UI makes it easy to manage the Galaxy Z Flip’s spacious, 6.7-inch display with one hand.
“Along with size and grip, the user experience was a key focus of design,” Kim explained. “We designed the Galaxy Z Flip to make it easy to: 1) access basic information when the device is folded, and 2) multitask on its large display.”
Unfolding a New User Experience
Through extensive research into how consumers are using their smartphones today, Samsung identified that the ability to fold and utilize a smartphone at various angles would add a new layer of convenience to the user experience. The Galaxy Z Flip was specifically designed to be folded and used at multiple angles, which makes everything from taking pictures and video calling, to viewing media more comfortable and convenient.
Realizing that functionality would require a hinge that was both durable and exquisite, like a cogwheel. Through exhaustive research on hinge designs, as well as close cooperation among hardware departments, Samsung eventually came up with a blueprint for a hinge that would be capable of standing a foldable device up at any angle. The Galaxy Z Flip’s intricate Hideaway Hinge is the product of these efforts. It allows users to utilize their device at various angles, and enables the smartphone to stand completely on its own. It’s also sturdy enough to ensure that the device will not open or close by itself.
Samsung anticipates that the Galaxy Z Flip’s ability to stand on its own will change the smartphone experience. “Both the market and consumer lifestyles are constantly diversifying,” said Kim. “To address consumers’ needs, we will continue exploring ways to enrich the Galaxy Z lineup and the foldable mobile category with meaningful and enjoyable experiences.”
Google is testing multi-colored Quick Settings icons in Android 11 – XDA Developers
Google’s first Android 11 Developer Preview was just released yesterday, but a lot of its best features are hidden away from public view. We’ve detailed some of the upcoming major UI changes already, and I’m personally a fan of all the ones we’ve seen so far. While continuing to dig into the Android 11 system dump from the Pixel 4, I discovered a new class called “QSColorController” in SystemUI. This class is responsible for overriding the color of tiles in the Quick Settings panel, and through some debug commands referenced in the code, it’s possible to individually change the colors of each Quick Setting tile.
As you can see above, the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, Auto-rotate, and Battery Saver icons have colors that are different from the current theme on my Pixel 2 XL. My Pixel 2 XL is running the stock theme with dark mode enabled in Android 11, which means that the color of each Quick Setting tile should be blue like the Flashlight icon. However, using the debug commands, I changed the colors of some of the icons to yellow, red, and green. The colors that you can pick currently include blue along with the aforementioned yellow, red, and green, though Google may add more colors in the future. The functionality of each Quick Setting tile doesn’t change—just the icon color.
I’m not entirely sure what Google intends to do with this feature; it’s possible that Google will expand the Pixel Themes app in Android 11 with this added functionality, but it’s also possible that Google will let developers set the color of their own Quick Settings tiles. XDA’s Zachary Wander got this feature working on the Android 11 emulator in Android Studio, so it doesn’t seem like this feature will be Pixel-exclusive. I’m personally not a fan of this multi-colored Quick Settings panel, but I wouldn’t mind having the option there for people who want it. I don’t know if this feature, like the other UI tests we spotted, will be enabled in the stable release, but we’ll continue tracking this feature as Google releases more Android 11 previews.
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Google tests moving Android's music controls to the quick settings menu – Android Central
Unlike iOS, Google has always had music controls in the notifications center alongside your messages, social alerts, etc. While this made finding music controls quite easy, it also meant that sometimes notifications could push media controls all the way down and out of sight.
With Android 11, there’s a very, very slight possibility that that may change. The team over at XDA has spotted a new feature Google’s built into the upcoming operating system.
In essence, the music controls have migrated out of the notification center to the quick settings menu, sitting alongside other controls like rotation lock and Wi-FI.
In order to accommodate the music player, the Quick Settings panel will expand from one to two rows and will display the Quick Settings toggles on one side, while the music player will take up the other side.
Opening the Quick Settings panel completely by swiping down once again will move the music player to the bottom of the panel, with all the toggles right above it. In a bid to accommodate the music player, the Quick Settings panel will take up more space than it does currently
From XDA’s screenshot, the change does look more than a little unfinished and out of place that it seems likely, this is just a test. Google has previewed features like screen recording and themes in Beta builds of Android before rolling them out in the next big update.
So while this could still come with Android 11, it’s much more likely to do so in Android 12.
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One year later, the future of foldables remains uncertain – TechCrunch
Yesterday, Samsung announced that the Galaxy Flip Z sold out online. What, precisely, that means, is hard to say, of course, without specific numbers from the company. But it’s probably enough to make the company bullish about its latest wade into the foldable waters, in the wake of last year’s Fold — let’s just say “troubles.”
Response to the device has been positive. I wrote mostly nice things about the Flip, with the caveat that the company only loaned out the product for 24 hours (I won’t complain here about heading into the city on a Saturday in 20-degree weather to return the device. I’m mostly not that petty).
Heck, the product even scored a (slightly) better score on iFixit’s repairability meter than the Razr. Keep in mind, it got a 2/10 to Motorola’s 1/10 (the lowest score), but in 2020, we’re all taking victories where we can get them.
There’s been some negative coverage mixed in, as well, of course; iFixit noted that the Flip could have some potential long-term dusty problems due to its hinge, writing, “it seems like dust might be this phone’s Kryptonite.” Also, the $1,400 phone’s new, improved folding glass has proven to be vulnerable to fingernails, of all things — a definite downside if you have, you know, fingers.
Reports of cracked screens have also begun to surface, owing, perhaps, to cold weather. It’s still hard to say how widespread these concerns are. Samsung’s saving grace, however, could well be the Razr. First the device made it through a fraction of the folds of Samsung’s first-gen product. Then reviewers and users alike complained of a noisy fold mechanism and build quality that might be…lacking.
A review at Input had some major issues with a screen that appeared to fall apart at the seams (again, perhaps due to cold weather). Motorola went on the defensive, issuing the following statement:
We have full confidence in razr’s display, and do not expect consumers to experience display peeling as a result of normal use. As part of its development process, razr underwent extreme temperature testing. As with any mobile phone, Motorola recommends not storing (e.g., in a car) your phone in temperatures below -4 degrees Fahrenheit and above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If consumers experience device failure related to weather during normal use, and not as a result of abuse or misuse, it will be covered under our standard warranty.
Consensus among reviews is to wait. The Flip is certainly a strong indication that the category is heading in the right direction. And Samsung is licensing its folding glass technology, which should help competitors get a bit of a jump start and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls of the first-gen Fold and Razr.
A new survey from PCMag shows that 82% of consumers don’t plan to purchase such a device, with things like snapping hinges, fragile screens and creases populating the list of concerns. Which, honestly, fair enough on all accounts.
The rush to get to market has surely done the category a disservice. Those who consider themselves early adopters are exactly the people who regularly read tech reviews, and widespread issues are likely enough to make many reconsider pulling the trigger on a $1,500-$2,000 device. Even early adopters are thrilled about the idea of beta testing for that much money.
Two steps forward, one step back, perhaps? Let’s check back in a generation or two from now and talk.
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