Samsung, the world's most prolific manufacturer of mobile phones and a powerhouse in many other sectors, seems set to make its first drone soon, and one of the options on the table is going to be able to transform. The metamorphosis-capable flying machine would, according to the image and descriptions included with the patent, be able to change the position of its propellers in order to enable different flight modes, as well as to hide the propellers and their arms away in order to make the drone more portable. The device would be controllable with any smartphone or other connected smart device, which presumably means that it will be able to connect via a number of protocols, including Wi-Fi at the very least.
Background: This patent application was originally sent over in the middle of December, but only recently went live. It's not the first time that Samsung has put in a patent for a drone or drone-related technology, by any means, but it is one of the more fully-formed ideas that the company has put in an application for. This means that it's likely a release candidate of sorts; Samsung has been notably absent in the drone market, so it's quite understandable for the company to bide its time and weigh ideas so that it can enter the space with a splash. Samsung hasn't always been one to make disruptive entrances, but given its clout and how late it is to the drone party, such a move would make perfect sense.
Impact: A transformable drone that can fold up and store its propellers is a perfect pocket companion, and likely more durable than the average cheap flyer. On the subject of price, the extra mechanical parts and fancy control protocols that allow just about any smart device to control the drone will likely drive the sticker up a bit, depending on the size, power, and range of the thing. Drone fans can likely expect to pay a bit more for this one than for comparable models, unless Samsung decides to really disrupt the drone space by subsidizing this first venture with its substantial coffers and putting out a product that has a quality that its price tag vastly belies. That's unlikely, given Samsung's pricing structure for other things and its long history in other spaces, but it is still a possibility. Just as strong is the possibility that this drone, nor any other, will simply never materialize. This is, after all, merely a patent. While Samsung is securing its design so that nobody else can make something like what it's dreamt up, the company is by no means obligated to follow through. Companies put out patent applications that never see the light of day all the time, and this may be no different. Samsung's relatively high activity in the drone patent space lately indicates serious interest, though, so the chances that the company will simply keep pumping out and patenting drone designs without ever actually making one is fairly slim.