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Samsung’s Flex Hybrid concept stretches foldable phones to their limit

What’s better than a tablet that can fold in half to become your phone? According to Samsung, it’s a foldable the screen of which can also slide out to give you even more visual real estate. But several practical limitations mean the Flex Hybrid concept, which Samsung is showing off at CES 2023, will remain closer to the whiteboard than our pockets for a while yet.

The Flex Hybrid is very much a prototype ‘smart mobile device’. It’s the first one we’ve seen that combines two types of innovative screen tech – the foldable displays that we already know (and mostly love) in phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, and newer ‘slidable’ screens that Samsung has been flaunting at various trade shows for the past year.

The idea is that you’ll unfold the left-hand side of the Flex Hybrid, much like the existing Fold series. But if you want an even larger screen, you’ll be able to stretch it from a 10.5-inch 4:3 display to a 12.4-inch screen with 16:10 ratio by pulling out the rest of the display from the right-hand side, to give you a proper tablet experience from a pocketable device.

The Flex Hybrid (above) can be unfolded from the left-hand side, and expanded with a sliding component from the right (Image credit: Samsung)

In theory, the Flex Hybrid is the kind of do-everything mobile device that we could only dream of a few years ago. But there’s good reason to believe that we’ll need to continue dreaming about it for a few years yet.

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