We are at a point in the smartphone world where there has been a bit of stagnation. Short of the LG G5 and the upcoming Moto Z with their modular designs, the rest of the world has become a bit bland. Most devices looks similar, feature similar specs, and don’t really offer much innovation.
There have been rumors of a foldable smartphone for some time, but nothing has ever seemed to pan out, then Lenovo decided to show off some concepts it has been working on. At Lenovo Tech World, the company used the services of a popular YouTuber to show off a smartphone that will wrap around your wrist, and a tablet that can transform into a smartphone after being bent in half. These were just concepts, but it seems the world of bendable displays is closing in.
The latest rumor isn’t much of a rumor, but instead more proof that Samsung is readying itself for the release of some new devices that will shake the market up. Just the last week the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a new application from Samsung for both a foldable smartphone, as well as a foldable tablet. The difference between these patents, and some that we’ve seen in the past, is the inclusion of an edge display area which would serve a few purposes.
Starting with the foldable tablet we see a few different modes that would be activated by performing various gestures when the devices is closed. Performing a specific gesture could open up your home screen, with another gesture opening up one of your favorite games. The gestures would be activated using an edge display similar to what is found on the Galaxy S7 Edge and was introduced with the Galaxy Note Edge last year. In addition to using various gestures to perform various tasks, the patent shows that there would be an array of buttons on the edge display that would correspond to open directly into an specific application.
When unlocking the tablet, the edge display would feature different user profiles on the left, while allowing users to input a passcode on the right. Once entered correctly, the tablet would open with the corresponding profile and load the various icons and wallpaper that was already set up.
As for the big boy, the foldable smartphone, we again see the integration of the edge display. This time however, the edge display would change its output options (read: buttons) depending upon which way the smartphone was folded. For example, if folded in a vertical form, there would be options for the Phone, Email, or SMS applications, whereas if the device was folded horizontally, the edge display would show media icons.
Finally, the patent also shows that certain portions of the display on this foldable smartphone would be activated after being unfolded at certain angles. Essentially, once you begin opening the smartphone, the edge display would be activated, then a certain section dubbed the “floating display area” would be turned on, and finally after being transformed into its full form, the whole display, including the edge display would be turned on.
We’ve seen rumors that Samsung is preparing to release a device similar to this sometime in 2017, and this patent just reaffirms some of those previous rumors. We’ll have to wait and see like always, but are we in for a new wave of devices that will test the limits of what we thought was possible and insert some new innovation into the “game”?
[via Patently Mobile]