No fewer than three new patents have now been spotted, reported first byIndia's Pricebaba Daily, that may provide some clues into how Samsung has reworked its long-awaited Galaxy Fold in order to prevent problems with its extremely experimental design.
The patents showcase improvements in three key areas, starting with one that will take the hinge from overcomplicated watch-style gears to a more simplified interlocking block design. There are two styles shown in the patent, with the first separating the blocks into two segments and the first showing a row of the wedge-shaped apparatus with no gaps.
In both designs, the wedge portion faces inward and the shape itself would stop the hinge from folding or unfolding. That would drastically reduce the number of components that problems could occur with and make it less likely for things that might make it inside the hinge to become trapped permanently.
Secondary to that fix, Samsung's second patent points to the use of even more flexible printed circuit boards that can be elongated or stretched in multiple directions thanks to their less rigid shape. Summarily, those would now have a wave-like pattern for added springiness that ensures the copper inside doesn't fracture.
Finally, the third patent details how layers can be encapsulated using existing materials to prevent moisture -- and subsequently, other materials -- from getting into the device. In effect, the design provides some insight into how flexible materials already well suited to the task can be layered around individual components such as the display, hinge, and others to prevent damage, allowing for a more durable folding handset.
The underlying issues
Issues with the initial run of Samsung Galaxy Fold devices, sent primarily to reviewers in a bid to build up hype prior to its being shipped out and in conjunction with pre-sales, centered on three primary areas of concern. Each resulted in effectively the same issues from a user perspective.
What reviewers were noticing all fell under categorization as display problems. In some cases, the screen would bow or bulge in the wrong direction. In others, it just stopped working at all or suffered severe artifacts and either broken pixels or lines. In every case, the screen became unusable.
Those were typically caused by debris getting underneath the display or stuck in the hinges but in some cases, the cause could be traced to reviewers removing a protective and reinforcing film from the screen. Each of the issues should be addressed with the redesign outlined in the patents.
The Galaxy Fold is meant to cement Samsung's place as the leading innovator in the mobile space. The 7.3-inch hybrid brings together the best of both of those worlds in a single package that acts as a 4.6-inch smartphone when closed and a tablet when opened up.
A 7nm processor backed up by 12GB of RAM, 512GB of ultra-fast storage, and a unique dual 4380mAh capacity battery underpin the latest Android with the gadget too, complete with tweaks to make transitions between the two panels smooth and consistent.
No fewer than six cameras round out those features, giving users the ability to snap either a selfie or an outward shot or video no matter how it's held.
The handset is also priced at well over $1500, so issues with the revolutionary design are no small matter for Samsung.
Just in time for the Samsung Galaxy Fold relaunch
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is currently expected to arrive in July, following resolution of all of its initial teething problems. That's according to recent reports claiming to cite executives from within the global technology company. The veracity of that claim is uncertain but it would line up well with the latest patent filings by the OEM -- filed just in time to protect the design from potential copycats when it finally launches.
At least some of the inventions detailed in those documents may also be held over until the next iteration of the gadget instead. The company will almost certainly provide an in-depth rundown of any changes that have been implemented at launch to assuage any worries consumers might have about buying such an expensive gadget that performed so poorly in initial reviews.