Justin Denison holds the Samsung foldable phone up for view at the company's developers conference

Samsung provided a sneak peak at its long-rumored “foldable phone” at the company's developers conference on Wednesday, saying that it marked the next big turning point for the smartphone industry.

The electronics giant offered few details about the phone’s design and gave only a low-light glimpse of a prototype featuring the Infinity Flex Display. When closed, the device looked like a thick, large-screen phone, but when opened, it more closely resembled a 7.3-inch tablet.

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The company didn’t give any pricing or timing details, except to say that its planning on “mass production in the coming months,” according to Justin Denison, senior vice president of mobile product marketing.

While the smartphone maker ZTE already offers a book-style phone featuring two screens linked by a hinge, Samsung’s version appears to be seamless when you unfold the device.

Denison told the crowd of developers that the phone’s design required the invention of an advanced composite polymer that’s both flexible and tough.

The company also had to come up with a flexible adhesive that would allow the phone to be opened and closed repeatedly without falling apart, he says.

The phone’s app experience is designed to be seamless, too. The final version of the phone will allow a person to use an app on the front-cover screen, then open the phone book-like and pick up where you left off on the larger inside screen, Denison says.

Samsung has created a new multiple-window display that will allow users to run three apps simultaneously on the inside screen. The company’s also working with Google to make sure that Android apps transfer to the new phone with as few hiccups as possible.

The Race for the Folding Phone

the new Samsung foldable phone
The new Samsung foldable phone opens like a book to reveal a 7.3-inch screen.

On Monday, Chinese tech firm Royole tried to steal Samsung's thunder by introducing its own flex screen phone to a few tech journalists.

Known as the FlexPai, the phone has a 7.8-inch screen that bends like a book jacket, offering “the portability of a smartphone plus the screen size of a high-definition tablet,” according to the company's website. When closed, the front, back, and spine of the device can operate as independent screens.

The FlexPai is available for pre-order now and will go on sale in December, but only as a developer model in the U.S. China gets the consumer model. The phone will start at $1,318 for a 128GB version and $1,469 for a 256GB version.

Huawei, Lenovo, LG, and Xiaomi have also flirted with creating flexible screen models.

But, to date, ZTE is the only company to actually release a foldable phone. The company's Axon M, which launched about a year ago, features two screens connected via a hinge. The Chinese company touted the productivity benefits of running multiple apps and even watching two football games at once on them.

But the viewing experience wasn't as much fun as you might expect on the combined display, because the video was sliced down the middle by the hinge and the screens' black bezels.

The phone didn't score that well in Consumer Reports testing, either. It logged 23 hours' worth of battery life with only one screen in operation, but just 14 with both screens employed. And it got banged up in our admittedly punishing tumble test.

But, more to the point, the displays themselves lagged behind those of premium phone makers such as Samsung and Apple in quality, according to our testers.