We’re a little less than a month away now from the US debut of Samsung’s first foldable phone hitting the market here, which will arrive at a time when the idea of a bendable form factor has spread like wildfire throughout the global smartphone industry. At this point, it’s pretty much a question of who’s not lining up to experiment with a foldable model, thanks to everything from the introduction of Huawei’s Mate X to the forthcoming Motorola RAZR, foldable prototypes that have emerged from companies like Oppo and Xiaomi as well as LG’s foldable that’s also coming later this year.
Samsung, meanwhile, has arguably been among the most aggressive with its experimentation in this regard, having patented what appears to be the most varied lineup of foldable phone models — with yet a new design just added to the list.
One of Samsung’s most recently revealed designs depicts a smartphone that unfolds to the size of a tablet, with a screen on the inside and outside. The South Korea-based tech giant has also just patented another, one that resembles the recently unveiled Xiaomi foldable design of a display that is foldable on two sides around the main body.
The approved patent, which was spotted by Dutch tech news blog LetsGoDigital, shows a phone with a large flexible display. Unfold the two sides, and you now have a tablet-sized device. Fold the two sides back, and you have a display that covers the entirety of the device.
There’s no indication of when or if Samsung will ever move forward officially with this design. However, among the things that stand out from the patent documentation is the seeming lack of connections for things like a charger. Samsung tends to be detailed with patent drawings, so there’s speculation that this design could support wireless charging. This also doesn’t seem to be a model that a cover would easily work for, a reminder that scratches are going to be even more of a consideration and danger to foldable mobile devices than they currently are for smartphones.
LetsGoDigital notes that his appears to be an advanced design model, no doubt an outgrowth of Samsung’s already-stated intention to release a new foldable smartphone annually. Similar to the release cycle for its premium smartphones like the Galaxy S devices.