The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted a patent for a "folding device" to Nokia. The patent may indicate that the Finnish tech giant is planning to release a foldable smartphone at some stage in the future. Going by the dates available on the USPTO website, the filing was made back in 2013, though the patent itself was only granted by the USPTO last September. Nokia has reportedly been working on foldable electronic devices for a fairly long time. While the 2013 patent filing may seem to be directly related to the company's current research, some of the earliest patent applications for such devices filed by the firm allegedly date back to 2005.
Images available on the USPTO website show that the device for which the patent was granted consists of two parts connected by what seems to be a hinge-like locking mechanism on the bottom, with the folding display panel located on the top of the invention. Back in 2014, Nokia was also granted patents for a flexible battery that can apparently be curled up just like regular ribbons. It remains to be seen whether that is significant for these latest developments, but all the talk of stagnating innovation in the smartphone industry may soon be a thing of the past considering all the recent news about foldable smartphones. Sketches of Nokia's latest patented invention can be seen below.
Whether Nokia enters the foldable smartphone race in the coming years is anybody's guess, but it won't be a total surprise if it does, given that numerous tech giants are rumored to bring their own folding smartphones to the market in the near future. The list of companies that are said to be working on such phones includes the likes of Samsung, LG, and Apple. In Samsung's case, the company is rumored to launch its foldable smartphone next year, with recent reports indicating that the device may actually be able to unfurl into a 7-inch tablet. While none of these reports can currently be verified, it seems that the smartphone industry is in for some exciting times, so it will be interesting to see how all of this pans out in the not-so-distant future.