Japan Display Inc (JDI), a Tokyo-based technology joint venture owned by Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi has unveiled a new display format which enables smartphones to fold open in the same way one would open a book. The solution consists of two LCD panels connected by hinges and enables a hypothetical phone utilizing this tech to essentially double its size.
The display itself is equipped with extremely thin bezels, and the two panels can be synced in order to show a single large display ideal for media consumption. The opening between the panels shouldn't be a significant distraction as the panels are less than 2mm apart from each other. When used in a book-like format, the two screens can act separately, making them a convenient solution for multitasking. Interestingly enough, JDI stated that this technology could also be used to produce a three-panel format, adding that all of the panels are detachable, Nikkei reports. The Japanese joint venture allegedly collaborated with the Minato-based electronics manufacturer Minebea and several other partners whose technology helped it build a peripheral frame thinner than 1mm.
Now, for the best part: this prototype will be commercialized by summer of 2017. The Tokyo-based company revealed that it's working with a Chinese smartphone manufacturer in order to deliver a book-like phone by next year. Although the said partner wasn't specifically named, JDI did state that it has partnered up with an OEM which boasts a "global" market presence. In other words, think Alcatel, LeEco, Lenovo, Xiaomi, OnePlus, and Meizu, and not the likes of Wasam, Konka, and Haier.
Unfortunately, only a single, low-resolution image of JDI's latest creation found its way online so far. However, looking at the said picture shown above, it seems that the Japanese display panel manufacturer took some cues from its recently revealed "Full Active" display, at least if its general proportions and ultra-thin bezels are anything to go by. Provided that this foldable creation is made of the said Full Active LCD panels, it will boast two 5.5-inch full HD (1920 x 1080) displays. The screens announced back in August were incredibly thin thanks to a new wiring schematic and a state-of-the-art processing control unit implemented through a modular assembly process.
Of course, this is all just educated guesswork as there's currently no way to certainly know what kind of technology JDI used to develop this foldable prototype. However, more information will hopefully follow soon.