Samsung has apparently filed for another patent describing a tablet-like foldable device boasting a flexible display. Judging by the sketches accompanying the patent application, the design can fold like a book and functions as a tablet. However, the highlight here appears to be a system of hinges allowing the display to have a safe bend radius and be tucked away when the device folds shut.
The product seen in the patent application appears to have the shape of a pencil case when shut close and turn into a tablet when folded open. The device doesn’t seem to have any displays on the outside of the case, which could indicate that the product can only be operated when folded open. In a sense, the basic design principle behind this mysterious Samsung foldable tablet seems quite similar to the Sony Tablet P. Sony's 2011 tablet also looked like a pencil case, but the technology was far from viable at that point in time, meaning that the device accommodated two regular displays, one on each half. Nevertheless, display manufacturers like Samsung Display and LG Display have recently developed new methods of constructing flexible displays, and both companies have already demonstrated their technologies at various consumer electronics trade shows around the world. As far as Samsung Electronics is concerned, the company already applied for numerous patents revolving around flexible mobile devices, but up until now, the only consumer-grade product to make use of this technology has been the company’s Galaxy S series with Edge displays.
As for the new tablet design patented by the South Korean tech giant, there’s obviously no guarantee that it will become a real product. However, it’s interesting to note that one of the images shown in the patent application does contain a list of internal components and mentions an application processor, input methods incorporating a touch panel, pen sensor, key, and an ultrasonic input device. Furthermore, it mentions a display module which includes a panel, hologram, and a projector, as well as various interfaces such as USB, HDMI, D-SUB and an optical interface. Finally, the list includes a wide variety of sensors ranging from a gyroscope, barometer, and an accelerometer to magnetic and biometric sensors. As to when we can expect flexible smart devices like this one to hit the shelves, rumors indicate that both Samsung and LG plan to unveil consumer-grade foldable products in the second half of this year.