Samsung's Upcoming Foldable Smartphone Could Have an Out-Folding Design, Patent Hints

This may be one of the two foldable smartphone designs that Samsung was recently reported to be working on.

Samsung's Upcoming Foldable Smartphone Could Have an Out-Folding Design, Patent Hints

Photo Credit: USPTO/ Samsung

Highlights
  • Samsung revealed the Galaxy Fold, a foldable smartphone early this year
  • Samsung is working on two more folding designs for smartphones
  • Patent filed by Samsung reveals out-folding design

Samsung showcased its first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold some time ago but things didn't go as planned for the South Korean smartphone maker. A few review units showed issues with their foldable display causing Samsung to delay the launch until it could make the necessary improvements. The Galaxy Fold had an in-folding display design but it looks like Samsung did consider an out-folding design based on newly published patents. These design patents were applied for in the US late last year and in Korea in December 2015. The US patent was only published earlier this week though. 

It's been reported that Samsung is working on two more foldable smartphone modes. It is said to be developing a vertically folding design similar to a flip-phone and the other is a clamshell-like design similar to the one seen on Huawei's Mate X. Samsung was reported to reveal the vertical-folding phone late this year or early next year. The out-folding design exists as a prototype but will be announced at a later point.

samsung folding design source uspto Samsung Out-Folding Display

Photo Credit: USPTO/ Samsung

 

The patent seen at the United Stated Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) of the out-folding device shows a flexible display mounted on two separate cases joined by a hinge with a sliding mechanism. When folded, the slide cover slides back towards the case allowing the display to fold. The slide cover helps the display fold easily when it slides back, and helps it stay firm in the unfolded state. A locking mechanism is also visible from the patent drawings which locks the sliding cover in place when the device is unfolded.

This patent was first spotted by Patently Mobile. We have already seen a folding design in the form of the Galaxy Fold from Samsung while two other designs are still in the works. With the patent already in place, Samsung could very well reveal a device with an out-folding design soon. Of course, patents are filed in their thousands by companies, and a patented concept may never turn into an actual product - thus what we're seeing here may remain on the drawing board.

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Further reading: Samsung, Samsung Foldable Phone
Aditya Shenoy
Aditya Shenoy reviews smartphones, wearables, headphones and speakers for Gadgets 360, out of Mumbai. Aditya is a reviewer for Gadgets 360 and has written extensively about smartphones, software updates, and upcoming devices. Aditya is available on Twitter at @adishenoy, and you can mail him at adityashenoy@ndtv.com, so please send in your leads and tips. More
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