IBM patents smartwatch that folds out into smartphone and tablet
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Is the market actually ready for foldable devices? Samsung and Huawei were absolutely positive that their phone models would have a big impact earlier this year, yet we all know how that turned out. Still, more and more companies are preparing to release foldables, each and every one trying to come up with ingenious designs that could turn out to be the industry standard. Up until now we’ve seen interesting concepts for foldable smartphones that convert into tablets, but IBM’s latest patent shows how smartwatches can be added to the mix.
Titled “Variable display size for an electronic display device,” IBM’s patent was initially filed in 2016 and was only approved on June 11 2019 by the USTPO. The default form of the device is that of a smartwatch that comes with a quite thick rectangular borderless display measuring 2 x 3 inches. Stacked inside the thicker case are 7 additional display segments that have the same size as the main one. Users can expand the screen size to include 4 segments (4 X 6 inches wide) or 8 segments (8 X 6 inches wide). Unfortunately, each segment’s seam is still visible in smartphone and tablet mode.
The patent does not mention whether the folding mechanism is manually activated, semi-automatic or fully automatic. However, the schematics show that the device will come with smartphone-grade hardware so there should also be a speaker and most likely Bluetooth support for external peripherals.