Samsung has been working on perfecting their flexible AMOLED displays for what seems like forever, and we’ve been yearning for the day that they introduce the technology in an actual mobile product. We know they’re working on an interesting design with the Note 4’s rumored YOUM display that wraps around the edges of the device to show notifications and music controls, but they could be coming to town with something even more unique.
The latest patent application from the USPTO — number US20140111954 — details a “foldable display device” that actually has a folding mechanism. Think of it as a make-up case with a hinge or folding your wallet — that’s how Samsung envisions their creation will work.
Flexible displays in smartphones are nothing new, with the LG G Flex being the most prominent example of that. The difference is that device has a flexible display for the purpose of being virtually indestructible — we haven’t yet seen a device designed to be folded away like a $20 bill.
This could open up some interesting design options for Samsung if they implement it as cleanly as these patents suggest they will. Imagine having both a tablet and a phablet in one device.
You’d get a single display on the outside when it’s folded, resembling a typical smartphone. Open it up for access to a 7-inch slate ready to go to work for you. Think of it as a more elegant, useful and practical solution to the “problem” the butt-ugly Kyocera Echo tried to solve a few years back. Sorry Sprint, but that thing was downright ridiculous.
That’s not exactly what Samsung is proposing with this patent application, but we imagine the possibility for it to evolve into such a project is high enough to explore. Beyond that, perhaps they just want to be able to deliver an ordinary phablet in a more compact form factor, something all you skinny jeans fans will no doubt love.
It’s not as if Samsung hasn’t been reported to be thinking about this before. In fact, recent rumors suggest they’ll be looking to introduce a device just like this as early as 2015, which is quite a long time from now in tech years.
Of course, we’ve been hearing about Samsung’s use of flexible displays since late 2011, and each year we expect to see one we’ve been massively disappointed. This time might be different, though, because they are no longer the only horses in the stable with this sort of tech ready for public consumption. Would you want a phone like this at some point down the line?