Samsung Galaxy Z Flip isn't even official yet but the company already appears to be well into conceptualizing its successor via patents. That's based on recent filings spotted by LetsGoDigital, indicating that Samsung may step even further outside of the box this time around.
The base design for either listing doesn't move too far out of the comfort zone created by the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the purported leaks of a Galaxy Z Flip, or the Motorola RAZR. One of Samsung's designs folds similarly to the former Samsung device. It folds along a verticle axis so the open device closely resembles a tablet.
The other takes its folding cues more directly from the RAZR. The most obvious point of note is that the secondary, external display is much smaller on Samsung's device. That's also been placed opposite what appear to be cameras. It will likely have just enough pixels to showcase date and time data. Folded open, the device itself resembles a standard modern smartphone.
How does the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 2 in patents differ from everything else on the market?
Samsung is also throwing in a few design quirks that make this design unique compared to current competitors in the folding smartphone segment. Not least of all, the design references the use of an S-Pen and an in-display fingerprint reader.
Taking things further still, Samsung hints at the use of punch holes in the phone cover. That allows lighting effects to pass through the cover. But the most interesting part of the newly patented design goes back to the external build itself.
Rather than folding the phones completely in half, Samsung's designs show an overlap between the outer cover and screen. That allows a portion of the screen to show on the outside even when the gadgets are folded.
In the more traditional flip phone design, that's represented by a horizontal bar comprised of a segment of the screen. For the more Galaxy Fold-like device, that's along the right-hand edge.
In either case, Samsung is showing a wealth of UI that can be used when the device is completely folded. Those uses range from media controls to note taking and fingerprint scanning.
But users won't be interacting directly with the screen if Samsung's patent is any indication. Instead, there will be a transparent cover that follows the curve of the exterior panel on one edge. That's cover will be how interactions take place.
The cover will protect the display, create a unified feel in-hand, and still allow all of the interactions. That's despite the fact that, based on the associated patent images, it does not directly touch the display it's protecting. That's made possible by a feature Samsung refers to as 'display-to-display' functionality.
These might not both be Z models but they won't be here soon either
It may turn out to be the case that the two separate designs shown in the patent filings aren't for the same device. Instead, it may be the case that Samsung plans to continue its Galaxy Fold line with the foldable gadget that unfurls into a tablet. The other gadget would then likely be a follow-up to the still-unannounced Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.
Summarily, Samsung may plan on upholding two entirely different lines of a foldable smartphone going forward.