Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 new 'Split UI' looks like the future of phones

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Split UI
(Image credit: Ice Universe)

It looks like Samsung is futureproofing its foldable phone software, with a leak revealing an adaptive user interface called “Split UI” that's allegedly coming to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

So rather than developing a different software for every foldable (or rollable) phone design it produces, it looks like Samsung is going for a one-size fits all approach. Which makes a lot of sense, when you think about it.

This news comes from long-time Samsung leaker @iceuniverse, who revealed the Split UI design in two short clips.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

(Image credit: Ice Universe)

Both clips start off by showing an example of a display on a Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip device, before changing the design and showing how the UI adapts to the new screen. The second clip shows that the user can also customize what they see on screen, and slide to alter the size of different sections.

Samsung’s current range of foldable phones are relatively simple devices. There’s only a single fold, and at most there are two displays. Really all the software needs to handle is migrating from the front display to the interior (on the Z Fold 3), or recognize that the phone has been positioned without being fully unfolded and act accordingly.

But the future may not be so simple, and these clips show us what Samsung appears to be working towards. After all, we’re starting to hear about phones with multiple folds, rollable extending displays, and who knows what other designs phone makers can dream up.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 split UI

(Image credit: Ice Universe)

Samsung could come up with software for each one, but that takes time and effort. It is much easier to have one bit of software that can adapt to the hardware it’s on. 

What’s more, it also means that the split-screen experience is consistent alongside all Samsung foldable and rollable devices. That was part of the logic behind Samsung’s One UI, after all. 

Plus, Android’s split-screen support is still pretty basic. If Samsung wants to start futureproofing its software now, it’s going to have to be proactive and not wait for Google to roll out these features to stock Android.

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Other Galaxy Z Fold 3 rumors and leaks point to a new under-display camera for the main display, S Pen support and the switch from physical buttons to capacitive buttons. We've also heard that the Z Fold 3 will offer an IP water and dust resistance rating for the first time. 

One especially tantalizing rumor is that Samsung will partner with Olympus for the camera on a special edition of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but that might have to wait until the Galaxy S22. 

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is currently expected to arrive in July, alongside the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy S21 FE.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.