Flexible-display devices from Samsung have primarily centered around folding devices but now the company is considering the future with a new dual-slidable smartphone mechanism. That's based on a recently-awarded patent for the South Korean tech giant, spotted by Dutch site LetsGoDigital.
The new design features a lot of similarities to the current lineup of Samsung flagships. Namely, the Samsung Galaxy S21. Not least of all, the company details the use of a punch-hole style front camera. And also the use of a solid camera housing that's built right into the frame of the smartphone along one edge. That's a multi-camera array at the back too, as shown in images.
So, at least in terms of overall aesthetic and design, it's not at all dissimilar to the above-mentioned flagship from this year. At least, not until the screen is considered and the frame a bit more closely.
Here's where the dual-sliding smartphone mechanism from Samsung comes in
The Samsung smartphone described in the patent at hand has a dual-sliding feature. And that allows it to start as a phone and expand to a tablet. In fact, the screen size can stretch by up to 30-percent when extended, as described in the documentation. That's an extension, as opposed to Samsung's current folding smartphone lineup. So the body is effectively pulled apart from left to right or vice versa, with the screen expanding to fill the space.
Underpinning that, there is an entirely different mechanism than has been seen in previous devices of this sort. Namely, a dual gear arrangement on gear rails with a chain-link-style array of linkages. Those click together when the smartphone is in its smaller screen mode. When the device is pulled apart, the internal portion of the linkage is essentially disjointed from its original internal segment coupling. Instead, it stretches out to link with the outer segment.
That arrangement allows for a solid frame that doesn't have creases or notches. And the internal mechanism is covered with a flexible foil or other cover material. So dust and dirt can't accumulate inside.
Will Samsung ever use this patent?
As always, Samsung may not ever choose to utilize this patent or any other similar patents it files. But, given that several smartphone OEMs are already looking at rollable or expandable phones, it doesn't seem too unlikely. And, at the very least, Samsung is pursuing the technology internally.