Samsung drops the foldable approach, patents an expandable design

Samsung patents a new smartphone design.

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Samsung has been long rumored to be working on a foldable smartphone. Many foldable devices have been patented and scrapped more times than we can remember. This may be an indication that foldable phones might not be the future - maybe expandable phones are. The South Korean manufacturer has now filed a patent for a smartphone display that expands when pulled from the sides. The smartphone might double as a tablet.

Samsung drops the foldable approach, patents an expandable design

Expandable smartphones
 

Expandable smartphones

The new patent suggests that the system will comprise of three panels. Only the main display will be visible in the 'phone mode.' To expand the screen, users will have to grab the sides and pull the device outward. This will unroll two more display sitting on either side increasing the real estate.

When not in use, the other two display panels are hidden within the body of the device. Currently, this is just a patent and it's hard to determine how the device would work. Tucking three display panels in a phone will make the device thicker.

Previous patents

Previous patents

Previous patents filed by the company gives us a sneak peek of how the device would shape up. While these patents might not be the final design of the device, they give us an idea of company's vision towards the future smartphones. This isn't the first time the company has filed for a patent for a foldable display.

Patently Mobile has reported a new design patent filed by Samsung has received a nod from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patents do not reveal any technology, specifications or materials used for the device, leaving us with only diagrams depicting the patented design.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ First Impressions
Foldout phone
 

Foldout phone

The most intriguing patent among these is a 'foldout' smartphone, similar to the recently released ZTE Axon M. But instead of using two displays like ZTE, Samsung chose to go with one large foldable display. Besides, there is a patent for a smartphone without any physical key or ports. While the design sounds innovative, only time will tell how practical it actually is.

Samsung has also received a patent for a wraparound device which will probably blur the lines between a smartphone and smartwatch. Will anyone of these patents see the production stage remains to be seen? Companies file many patents that never make it to the production stage, so putting so much hope in any one of these is not advisable.

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