Samsung Flexes With YouTube-Exclusive Split-Screen Feature For Its Folding Phone

By 04/22/2020
Samsung Flexes With YouTube-Exclusive Split-Screen Feature For Its Folding Phone

Samsung’s folding phone now has a feature specifically designed for YouTube.

With its latest update, the telecom giant’s Galaxy Z Flip smartphone–which released back in February and costs a cool $1,380–offers Flex Mode, a function that splits a user’s screen and lets them watch a full-size video in the top half while using the bottom half to do things like explore a creator’s other videos, read/write comments, or see what’s on Trending.

Flex Mode was added thanks to a longstanding relationship between Samsung and YouTube’s parent company Google. In a statement about Flex Mode, Samsung said it and Google brought their engineers together and redesigned the YouTube app “from the operating system level” to add Flex Mode.


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To activate the feature, a Galaxy Z user just has to have YouTube open and partially close their phone. The function will launch automatically, splitting YouTube into two independent screens.

You can see how the display changes in this mockup from Samsung:

If you’re thinking the feature sounds similar to the miniplayer YouTube offers on its browser site and non-folding phones…well, it is, sort of. At their core, both functions allow users to access the rest of YouTube without having to exit out of the video they’re currently watching.

But the key word here is “mini.” YouTube’s standard function minimizes the current video playing, shunting it to the bottom inch or so of a phone’s display, and to the bottom right corner of a computer screen. Flex Mode is unique in that it plays videos edge-to-edge in the top half of a user’s folded screen. It’s also optimized for vertical videos.

“Square and vertical videos will nearly fill the entire space, while 16:9 videos will adjust to the center,” Samsung said.

This is not the first time Samsung and Google have debuted YouTube-exclusive features. Way back in 2015, they caught the then-rising tide of livestreaming popularity by collaborating on a feature called Live Broadcast that was built into Galaxy Note cameras and let users broadcast live video right to YouTube.

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