from Samsung is the successor to the company’s first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold launched last year.
The Fold 2 has lost the prominent notch of its predecessor’s main display, has thinner bezels, and a larger screen coverage – 6.2 inches compared to the previous 4.6 inches – and it is symmetrical in shape with the back of the phone when unfolded. It uses ultra-thin glass to cover the 7.6-inch main screen rather than the polyimide film used for the Fold. It also has a stronger hinge. It’s hard to deny that in terms of design, the Fold 2 is a step forward.
“Having to look good is a given to designers when it comes to product design,” said Tae-joong Kim, head of the Next Generation Product Design group at Samsung Mobile to . Kim and his group oversee the design of the Fold series and the Galaxy Z Flip, both of which are now part of the Z series. “No designer is ever 100% satisfied with the outcome. I think the first Fold was the best result from us at the time to satisfy consumer needs. For the second Fold, what we focused on most in design was harmony. ”
“We didn’t want the cover, the main display, the hinges or the body to be visually intrusive on the overall look. We wanted them to be visually harmonious together. We put a lot of effort into not giving the ‘impression that we are focusing more on one of these elements than on the others, ”he said.
Kim compares this design process to that of the clothes people wear. “You look and feel different depending on the clothes you wear and the way you wear them. Each piece of clothing is important, but they also need to all be harmonious together. We have individual projects that have focused on the hinge, the body and the display screens. We used keywords like “bold”, “elegant” and “unique” in these processes. And when we put them together, all of these were all about harmony. ”
Tae-joong Kim, vice president and head of the next generation product design group at Samsung Mobile. Image: Samsung
Designed for ease of use
Another important Samsung goal when it comes to the Fold 2 design was ease of use as productivity is a big value for this kind of smartphone.
“The role of the designer has now broadened. Before smartphones, the exterior styling of phones accounted for over 90% of our work. But screens have gotten bigger and software has evolved. [avec le smartphone], and the exterior design focused more on how to add value and increase efficiency so that users can access information, ”explains Mr. Kim.“ For the Fold 2, so we have, as of the starting off, thought about how usability can blend into the design. We thought about the size, thickness, weight, and grip and how they all blend together. ”
The Fold 2 has three modes of use: like a smartphone, like a tablet and the in-between mode that Samsung calls flex mode. The design group wanted the three modes to work on their own while remaining visually pleasing. “Regarding the flexible mode, it can be said that we are offering this possibility to consumers for the first time. We are very attentive to customer feedback and strive to reflect their requirements in our foldable smartphones,” explains Mr. Kim. .
“We have a lot of data accumulated for the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series. We have a real understanding of the consumers’ needs with regard to these series. But foldable smartphones are a new category for us. Every time we launch a new one. foldable product, customer feedback becomes more diverse and more specific, so we are constantly thinking about how to solve the problems they raise and make them more satisfied, “he says.
Consumers wanted an even better main screen and a larger cover display than the Fold’s for its successor, notes the designer. “So we did our best and so far consumer feedback has been very positive overall.”
“Deciding on the right screen size is a difficult process. Generally speaking, a bigger screen means greater consumer satisfaction. But we also have to think about portability. And screen size has a bearing. impact the overall size of the device. We made many prototypes that attempted to balance the display of the cover with the size of people’s hands to finalize the Fold 2 “.
Samsung’s design sketch for the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Image: Samsung
Folding displays – with the screen folded inward, like in the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold 2 – will continue to be offered by Samsung, Kim says. “We have long accumulated know-how in the area of foldable technology. Galaxy Fold was our first commercial foldable device, but we have research data going back years before that.”
“We are already thinking about how to attract consumers, in a year and in three years, based on […] that knowledge. “But technology develops sequentially and sometimes not everything that is state of the art can be expressed with the design at that point, he said.
“Design is, I think, what sits between consumers and technology. The Galaxy Fold 2 offers everything that came before it as well as new values for consumers. When the market is ripe, we can offer them. more new values ”.