Samsung is on a quest to be the first manufacturer to produce a flexible, foldable, or rollout display. Their patents are obviously for a new smartphone design that will give us a smaller footprint yet net us a much larger display area. But, their newest patent filings encompass a wider audience than strictly the smartphone user – these designs can be used for tablets, computers, or entertainment purposes. This idea is nothing new for Samsung as they have been working on this idea since 2008 and in 2009 when they introduced their concept for a folding smartphone at CES, so we are anxious to see what they may unveil at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. In fact, the patent you see below was from the end of 2016, and while it is hard to determine exactly when we will be able to buy one of these foldable smartphones, it is reasonable to assume it will be sometime in 2018 or 2019 at the latest.
Samsung is clearly focusing on the security aspect of the foldable design. One patent shows a design where a “touch panel [is] configured to detect a touch input” before the device can even be opened to use – in other words, a fingerprint sensor. Samsung seemingly loves biometrics, and there is a design where the device will not be able to be scroll out or unfold until some form of biometrics identification is recognized; and this is not limited to your iris information, but may include voice or face recognition, palm line, vein distribution, and more. It may be that Samsung is covering all of their bases in the patent, but more than likely would use fingerprints or retina/iris information as the easiest means to provide secure identification. The image below shows how the camera could be positioned to obtain a picture of the eye for verification or how fingerprint authorization could be used while the device is still closed.
It is an exciting future in the world of flexible displays and Samsung has to be encouraged following the popularity of just curving the edge of the display on their Galaxy S7 Edge and Galaxy Note 7 - sans the fire and recall fiasco. The foldable smartphone looks as though it will be a huge hit when it arrives in the next couple of years and the patents show that Samsung is hard at work to make it happen.