Samsung has patented a new foldable smartphone design, and it seems like Samsung was inspired by Xiaomi on this one. Xiaomi had demoed its foldable smartphones several times now, first the company's co-founder showed it off on its official Weibo (Chinese social media network), and then a couple of days ago Xiaomi's Weibo page did the same thing, posted a completely new video.
This Samsung design, which surfaced on WIPO, also folds in two places, and both of those sides fold to the back of the device, just like on Xiaomi's foldable handset. There seems to be some sort of a protrusion in the center of the back of this phone, next to which two sides of the display sit, probably to keep them firmly in place when the phone is folded.
When the two sides fold, approximately half of the display ends up being usable on the front, and considering how wide this device is when folded, this may actually be a foldable tablet, and not a phone. It almost seems like the device will offer a 4:3 display aspect ratio based on these patent images.
As it's usually the same with patents, though, this is just a general guideline for the design aspect of a device. If Samsung ever ends up using this design, the company may decrease or increase display size and aspect ratio, of course, so this may end up being a phone after all.
One thing that is completely unclear in this patent is… where are the cameras, which is the same thing that we asked ourselves when we saw Xiaomi's foldable smartphone. Cameras (both front and rear-facing), don't seem to be a part of this design, at least we can't see them anywhere. It is, of course, possible that Samsung plans to include those cameras under the display (somewhere to the side).
If that ends up being the case, then those cameras would be usable both as front-facing and rear-facing sensors, depending on whether the phone is folded or not. You will notice that sides of the phone's main display are considerably thicker than the main portion of it, those sides probably host this phone's batteries, and it's possible that cameras are included in there as well.
Foldable smartphones have arrived
Several smartphone manufacturers have already announced their foldable smartphones, including Royole, Samsung, and Huawei. Royole introduced its FlexPai handset at the end of last year, while Samsung and Huawei followed in February this year.
Samsung's very first foldable smartphone is called the Galaxy Fold, and it's quite expensive at $1,980. The device is made out of metal and glass, and it comes with high-end specifications. This device folds inwards, like a book, and is quite different to what Huawei announced.
Huawei's foldable smartphone folds outwards, and it is quite a bit more expensive than Samsung's offering. The Huawei Mate X is its name, and it features both larger primary and secondary displays than the Galaxy Fold. It remains to be seen who else will announce a foldable smartphone this year, but Xiaomi sure is expected to do that soon, along with several other OEMs.