Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Galaxy Z Fold 6 might feature a much better design than any of its predecessors

Published Jan 31st, 2024 3:56PM EST
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Display
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

Samsung is enjoying great interest in the Galaxy S24 series, as the phones sold well during preorders. Reports already say Samsung might be revising its projections for the series, as the phone is selling better than expected.

Now that the Galaxy S24 is out in stores, it’s time to focus on Samsung’s next flagships, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Flip 6. Obviously, we have heard early rumors about them, including a design mockup for the Fold 6 based on one of Samsung’s newest patents.

If the schematics Samsung used in the patent accurately depict its immediate plans, the Fold 6 might fix two of the biggest Galaxy Z Fold 5 issues. The next foldable might be much thinner than before, and it’ll feature a much larger external display. This will be a first for Samsung, but something we’ve already seen in the industry.

Pressure from China

Samsung is at the forefront of foldable phone tech innovation; that’s what the Korean giant would claim. And it would largely be accurate. Samsung did indeed start the foldable phone movement a few years ago and was the dominant player in the market for years. Except for China, maybe.

But foldables only account for a fraction of the overall smartphone market. That’s less than 2% of smartphone sales, according to a September 2023 TrendForce report that said foldables might reach 18.3 million units globally in 2023. Up until last year, Samsung had little global competition to worry about.

Honor Magic V2 Bottom
Honor Magic V2 Bottom Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Samsung isn’t really at the forefront of foldable phone innovation now that Chinese smartphone vendors have started launching their devices internationally. The Korean giant had to catch up to the market rather than lead it.

The Flip 5 got a larger external display only after Motorola and Oppo came up with such designs. The Fold 5 is the first Galaxy Z Fold model to fold perfectly, with no gap. Chinese vendors pulled that design feat years ago. And last year, we got the incredibly thin Honor Magic V2 foldable that puts Samsung’s Fold design to shame.

Reports earlier this month said that Samsung is aware of the increased competition from Chinese smartphone vendors. Samsung reportedly wants to release a cheaper Fold 6 version that would compete better in China. Additionally, Samsung is looking at design improvements for the next-gen Fold, including a thinner profile for the handset.

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 design?

This brings us to USPTO patent number 11,889,006, which Samsung just won in the US.

Titled “Electronic Device Including Flexible Display,” the patent features more than a dozen schematics detailing hinge technology that would allow Samsung to manufacture a much thinner Galaxy Z Fold 6 device than ever before. That much is clear from the first illustration in the patent.

Illustration from Samsung USPTO patent number 11,889,006 might reveal the Galaxy Z Fold 6 design.
Illustration from Samsung USPTO patent number 11,889,006 might reveal the Galaxy Z Fold 6 design. Image source: Samsung via USPTO

Also, the imagery Samsung used in the patent indicates the outer display might be wider than before. That’s been a big criticism with all Fold-type devices Samsung has made to date.

While drawings in patents aren’t always indicative of a product’s commercial design, Pigtou notes that the illustrations in patent 11,889,006 are unlike foldable schematics Samsung used in other patents. Those looked more like the current Fold 5 design, both when it comes to the external display and the phone’s thickness.

Galaxy Z Fold 6 design render based on Samsung patent shows a thinner profile.
Galaxy Z Fold 6 design render based on Samsung patent shows a thinner profile. Image source: Pigtou

In partnership with leaker xleaks7, Pigtou created renders of a Galaxy Z Fold 6 that would look like the foldable in the patent. As a fan of foldable devices, I’ll say such a Fold 6 design would be amazing.

Samsung would need new hinge technology to actually manufacture this type of foldable phone. The phone would still have to fold and unfold without breaking the flexible display. It would have to do it over and over securely and reliably. All while folding without a gap.

Any durability issues would instantly remind us of Samsung’s ill-fated Galaxy Fold launch. The first-gen model turned out to be a disaster in real-life testing, with Samsung having to fix the screen design and delay the launch of the handset for months.

The hinge design in the patent would distribute the load evenly when the handset is folded or unfolded. The detent hinge would also provide force feedback to indicate the phone has been folded or unfolded. This might be useful even when partially folding the phone for certain use cases.

Galaxy Z Fold 6 design render based on Samsung patent shows a wider external display.
Galaxy Z Fold 6 design render based on Samsung patent shows a wider external display. Image source: Pigtou

Will Samsung actually roll out this design for the Galaxy Z Fold 6? We’ll have to wait until July to find out. But the patent certainly indicates that Samsung has been studying technologies that would make a thin Galaxy Z Fold design possible.

In fact, Samsung applied for the patent back in July 2021, years before Honor stunned the world with its Magic V2 design. It’s unclear why we’re yet to see Samsung use this design for commercial products.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.