I’ve already covered previous Samsung patents that highlight the Korean giant’s interest in folding, rolling, flexible, and otherwise reconfigurable device designs. Now a fresh Korean patent for a “foldable device” has surfaced, suggesting that we could be far closer to actually seeing such a smartphone in the marketplace.
The actual folding hinges appear to work on a cog principle with two equal halves unfolding to produce a single longer rectangular screen. Some of the other wording in the full patent indicates that the proposed design incorporates flexible printed circuit boards and an AMOLED display.
The diagrams at least do not give much more detail on how the form factor is supposed to work with the OS. For instance, will there be a cut-down interface on the outside of the folded device? How usable will the smartphone be in its folded state? Without knowing answers to these questions, it’s hard to know what the user experience will actually be like. Will ebook readers actually be able to read their ebooks across a half-folded screen as if across two pages? Is that actually going to enhance their e-reading experience much? Speculation elsewhere suggests that Samsung could be aiming to have a device in the market by year end, so we could find out sooner rather than later.