Samsung was one of the first manufacturers to introduce a foldable smartphone. Early adopters can buy the Galaxy Fold from the beginning of May 2019. But there are, of course, still many manufacturers who are developing a folding phone. Huawei has introduced the Mate X; the Motorola RAZR is also expected in a few months. Manufacturers such as Xiaomi and Oppo have recently shown a folding phone prototype. And LG will also introduce a folding smartphone this year. We probably have to wait a year longer only for the Apple model.
Samsung foldable phones
Although Samsung is certainly not the only manufacturer that sees a future in the folding telephone, the Korean manufacturer is one of the ones that has patented the most diverse models.
Some phone models had one large flexible screen, such as the recently introduced Galaxy Fold, while others have a dual display, which may or may not be held magnetically together. One design showed a folding device that unfolded into a tablet, while another design is a clamshell model, with or without the display on the outside when you fold the device. Samsung even patented a folding gaming smartphone and a bendable phone that you can wear as a watch on your wrist.
Samsung has also distributed various teaser videos over time. The most recent one showed a smartphone that unfolds to tablet size, similar to the Fold, but with a screen-filling screen – both on the front and inside. LetsGoDigital has already designed 3D renders of this foldable smartphone model earlier this year.
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Have we had all possible models? No … the Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi showed a special variant at the beginning of this year, a flexible display that can be folded on two sides or a double folding telephone. You fold the edges of the screen around the housing. It is a very stylish design, to which many responded particularly positively.
However, it looks like Xiaomi is not the only manufacturer that sees possibilities in this design. Samsung has patented a foldable phone model that is similar to the Xiaomi model. To get a better idea of the design, LetsGoDigital has had a set of 3D renders developed.
Smartphone with a double folding display
The design patent was already applied for by Samsung Electronics in 2017 via the Global Design Database of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office). More than a year later, the patent was published. There are 25 sketches attached that show the mobile phone from all sides.
The foldable phone from Samsung has a large flexible screen that can fold twice. Once expanded you have a tablet-size screen at your disposal. If you fold the device, the screen remains on the outside. You curl the screen around the housing. The entire device then consists of a front and rear display.
Remarkably, the two parts you fold are considerably thicker than the middle. All components will undoubtedly be incorporated in this; these parts will therefore probably be heavier. What this will mean for the hand position is unknown. In any case, it is a notable difference from the Xiaomi model, which seems to have the same thickness over the entire width.
To prevent the display from bending when you use the entire screen, Samsung has placed support in the middle and the entire axis of the screen. The support falls nicely between the two display parts in the folded position.
As a result, the display part at the rear will be considerably more vulnerable to scratches. It is also not a model that you can easily place a cover around. In the background, we will undoubtedly work hard on a method to minimize these scratches.
With the first generation of foldable telephones, you see that the display is discolored/bleached where it is folded. The making of the folding movement is also accompanied by creaking, crackling noises, which makes the whole feel very unnatural. That will, of course, not decrease if you have two folding lines.
Moreover, the question is how sustainable flexible screens are. For example, Samsung would even consider free screen repair for the Galaxy Fold because the screen can be permanently damaged after 10,000x folding.
In contrast to the design of Xiaomi, there are no screen edges in the Samsung model. This is a full screen. Unfortunately, this means that the camera placement is unclear from the brief description and/or the drawings.
The Galaxy Fold has no less than 6 cameras (1 on the front, 2 on the inside, and 3 on the back), so the chance that Samsung will introduce a folding device without cameras seems almost nil. The Korean manufacturer may assume that this design will be able to incorporate the camera into the screen by that time.
Equally striking is the lack of connections. Samsung is always pretty detailed with its patent sketches. Connections for the charger, for example, are never lacking. It is possible that this foldable smartphone model can only be charged wirelessly.
Future foldable telephone models
It seems to be an advanced model in any case. Samsung has already indicated that the company intends to release a new foldable smartphone every year, just as it maintains an annual cycle for its high-end smartphones, the Galaxy S and Note series.
In addition, there are signs that the Korean manufacturer is working on some other models. Thus, there is still a model that is expected to unfold into a tablet format, this time with the display on the outside – as the Huawei Mate X. In addition, the company would also have a foldable clamshell telephone in the pipeline.
Enough to look forward to, so although there is currently no concrete information available regarding an introduction date for these models.