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New Samsung patents reveal foldable and scrollable smartphone/tablet designs


A patent recently published by the USPTO and unearthed by Patently Mobile reveals Samsung could have plans to design and build foldable, bendable and scrollable devices with various designs. Of course, the technology underpinning this entire exploration is a flexible display, which made it in to mainstream smartphones a couple of years ago with the Galaxy Round and LG G Curve. More recently, Samsung used it in the Galaxy S6 Edge, but if these designs eventually make it to market, they’ll make the S6 Edge look dull…

Perhaps the most intriguing of the various foldable and bendable products is the scroll-like device. In its closed state, it looks like a simple cylinder with a narrow secondary display on the outside. Opening it can be achieved by either pulling the tab and manually pulling the main display from its rolled state, or by pressing on one of the icons displayed on the secondary screen. Pressing the calendar icon, for instance, would open the device and automatically show the calendar app in fullscreen.

To achieve the fully flexible display, the patent notes that Samsung would have replace the traditional glass screen surface with a pliable plastic, by doing so they could potentially achieve a scrollable screen. Samsung also envisions a future where tablets can be folded for easy portability and then opened up when more screen real estate or multi-screen multitasking is needed.

While the idea is highly conceptual, I can see where this might be useful. One proposed example is having a phone call on one half of the screen, with an address book or calendar open on the other to check dates, availability or someone’s contact details while talking to someone. There’s not much worse than having to try and find that kind of info on a single screen while talking to someone.

As usual with any patents that are unearthed: Just because there’s a bunch of drawings and an official patent, it doesn’t mean the company is actually going to launch any of these concept products to market. It seems simply as though Samsung has worked as many possible scenarios of flexible display/secondary display use as they can to cover their bases. Of course, they might eventually release something similar. If they do, we’d advise they don’t include the ‘iPod’ app shown in the bendable smartphone image, they might find themselves in hot water with a certain Silicon Valley company.

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