The Windows OS is perfect for gadgets with folding displays

Think about it. We’ve been using Windows with large screens almost all our life. It still remains the most popular desktop/laptop OS, used by people of all ages, and even though Google’s ChromeOS and Apple’s MacOS are strong contenders, there’s a certain framework that Windows uses that’s universal. A start button and taskbar at the bottom, files and folders appearing as windows that can be minimized and maximized, and a screen that’s conducive to power-usage and multitasking. Windows is the perfect big-screen OS for small or large jobs, and for complicated work as well as basic web browsing.

When you think of folding phones, the first use case that comes to mind is multitasking… a feature that mobile OS’s haven’t really enabled well enough. I still don’t know how to use apps in split-screen in Android, and even though I sort of know my way around iOS, I rarely see myself multitasking, even on my iPad. On my laptop, it happens without me even thinking or knowing. I’ve got Chrome open, but also a folder open in the background, a notes app on my desktop, and photoshop minimized, ready to be used. The estate provided by a large screen just makes things easier, and the Windows OS really enables this in a way that’s so easy to use, it gets taken for granted.

Now when you look at Microsoft’s vision of a folding phone, like the Surface Note concept shown below (also referred to as Project Andromeda by Microsoft), you’ll instantly realize that it’s running Windows (albeit in tablet mode), rather than a mobile OS built for screens no larger than 6 inches. The OS replicates the familiar desktop experience that actually makes a large screen useful. Fold the Surface Note in half when you need a phone (the OS is still perfectly useful), and open it into its larger format to use multiple apps together. The process feels incredibly natural, given how familiar we are with the Windows OS, and the larger screen’s functionality is further extended with the presence of the Surface Stylus. The stylus is even allowed to be carried ‘inside’ the Surface by simply wedging it in like a bookmark (although I’d probably be very concerned about damaging that display). Microsoft still seems to be working on developing their super-secret folding gadget, although people HAVE discovered several patents online. Personally, this could honestly be a pretty big deal for Microsoft. Whether you like it or not, they’ve had the monopoly on large-screen operating-systems meant for power-users all along. Android and iOS may be at a genuine disadvantage here, because their OS wasn’t developed for full-featured multitasking… Windows for desktop and tablet, on the other hand, has. If they can manage to deliver on a device that allows you to carry that large-screen (and its world of functionality) in your pocket, that’s just an incredible win for the company, and the OS!

Designer: Ryan Smalley

A California start-up beat Microsoft and Samsung to the foldable tablet/phone

You’re not looking at the Microsoft Andromeda, or the flexible phone Samsung has been rumoredly working on, or Logitech’s flexible phone. You’re looking at the Flexpai, a flexible phone/tablet from California-based Royole. The most interesting thing about the Flexpai is that it isn’t a proof-of-concept. The tablet/phone is literally available for pre-order.

The Flexpai comes with a foldable body and a display that sits on the outside when folded (rather than Microsoft’s Andromeda, where the screen folds inwards). What this means is that the Flexpai goes from single-screen mode to a dual-screen format when folded, with the spine acting as a notification area. You can run simultaneous apps on both screens, with touch working on literally both sides of the display, courtesy Flexpai’s WaterOS.

The screen comes as a large 4:3 7.8-inch display that folds to two 18:9 screens when divided in half. There’s also a 21:6 edge-screen for important notifications like incoming calls. The screen is designed to fold as much as 20,000 times without any damage (which should cover as much as 3 years of use if you fold and unfold the phone 20 times a day, every day). You’ve also got dual-cameras and fast-charging built in too, so there’s no cutting corners with the Flexpai, except maybe for the massive bezel on its one side.

The Flexpai is currently available only in China and costs roughly around $1,571 for the 128GB variant, which seems a little on the expensive side, but that’s the price you pay to be an early adopter of some very revolutionary tech. My advice? Hold off on it till the flexible display market becomes a little larger and more democratized. If you look at the GIF below of a hands-on, you’ll notice that the screen tends to warp a little bit around the spine, and that the transition from single to dual-screen is a little choppy. It’s still extremely impressive though, especially considering big players like Samsung and Microsoft are still trying to perfect the technology!

Designer: Royole








What Microsoft might unveil at its Surface event (and what it should)

Microsoft's Surface lineup has gone from being a messy, nearly unusable experiment to some of the best PCs on the market. The Surface and Surface Pro helped popularize the idea of hybrid tablet PCs -- so much so that even Apple is trying to mimic it...

Microsoft plans version of Windows 10 for devices with limited storage

A smaller, more pared down version of Windows 10 was spotted in the latest Redstone 5 preview build. Microsoft is calling it Windows 10 Lean and it's 2GB smaller in size than standard editions of Windows 10 once installed. Missing from this version a...

Google might launch a reborn Chromebook Pixel and smaller Home

Do you still have a Chromebook Pixel-shaped hole in your heart months after Google pulled the plug? Good news -- Google might be bringing it back. A source speaking to Android Police claims that a "Pixel-branded Chromebook" will launch alongside the...

EA Access members get ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ five days early

If you're an EA Access subscriber you'll be able to play Mass Effect: Andromeda's first ten hours almost a week ahead of everyone else. Like Electronic Arts has done for games in the past, folks on Xbox One will be able to play the highly-anticipated...

Google snaps up the creators of a game-focused Android emulator

You can already run Android apps on a Chromebook, but would you run games and other intensive mobile apps on it? Probably not. However, Google might be taking steps to make that practical. The creators of LeapDroid, an Android emulator that specia...