One could argue that smartphones have become boring, given that any recent flagship device only brings improvements over previous versions and over technology that is already present but nothing really new and exciting. Samsung is aware of that and the company is known for experimenting with unusual tech in their phones. One example is the oddly-looking Galaxy Note Edge, released in 2014, that featured a curved screen on one side. The following year they released the S6 edge/edge+ and we all know the rest of the story. In case you don’t know, the curved screen on the Edge models is actually a flexible AMOLED panel that is fixed in place, and it seems that Samsung won’t stop in just leaving it that way. The company has been working on a foldable, full-screen smartphone for years and a recent patent sheds some light on what the South Korean giant has in the works.
Published on Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service’s website (KIPRIS, Korea’s equivalent of USPTO), the patent shows a rectangular device that looks like a regular smartphone, coupled with a folding mechanism in the middle. The document is in Korean, but it is possible to have a notion of the content thanks to drawings present in the paper. The important thing here is the folding mechanism, and it is composed of gears and other components that are likely able to hold the phone at the desired angle. The handset is made of two different physical parts that will contain the electronic circuitry, and the flexible AMOLED panel will be on top of that, covering the whole surface.
About a year ago, it was reported that Samsung was working on a foldable smartphone to be released earlier this year. As we all could see, the handset didn’t materialize, but the hopes are still on since analysts predict that the company will be releasing such device in the second half of this year. Despite the remarkable technological feat that making a foldable smartphone represents, it is important to take into consideration the actual usability of such characteristic would bring to the end user. One clear example is Samsung’s own Galaxy S6 and S7 edge models: their curved screen looks gorgeous, but the actual usability is yet to be proven and Samsung and third-party developers still need to bring apps and features to take advantage of this extra screen space. Nevertheless, if the company is in the works for releasing a foldable phone, we should have more news as the release time approaches and we will keep you posted on that.