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Samsung patents a display that can fold...into a brick

The alleged Samsung patent in its 'block' form. (Source: LetsGoDigital)
The alleged Samsung patent in its 'block' form. (Source: LetsGoDigital)
A new entry into the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) may show where Samsung may think foldable displays and their use in the future are headed. It depicts an electronic product that can lay flat, but can also be folded...into a 3D rectangle. This "display device", therefore, may be a new kind of convertible, although it does not really seem that portable.

Despite the set-back in the Galaxy Fold's launch, it is likely that Samsung will establish itself at the forefront of the emerging foldable-device market. To this end, it appears that the Korean OEM is already designing new and innovative products that leverage this technology into new form-factors. For example, a Dutch blog claims to have found a patent filed on May 7, 2019 that strongly points to this state of affairs.

The new submission, allegedly filed with the USPTO, describes a device with an appreciably large screen with a conventional-looking, possibly 16:9, aspect-ratio that can apparently display information as well as objects such as app icons. So far, so normal...however, the reader quickly notices that the screen has several odd attachments like outdated Google Chrome tabs running along its longer edges.

It appears that these components are indeed tabs that allow the device to fold along them until it forms a 4-sided bar. This 'brick' form is then supported by the tabs, which face inwards. This may allow the entire device to stand independently and display information such as the time to the user. Therefore, it seems that Samsung has patented a new form of 2-in-1 device that functions thanks to flexible technology.

The product as described is admittedly interesting and relatively unique. However, it also gives a slight impression of unweildy awkwardness that raises the possibility of LG's rollable-electronics plans working out better for the mobile devices of the future. On the other hand, Samsung refers to this patent as one for a "display device", which suggests that it may be intended for use-cases around the home, or for eye-catching commercial applications.

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A schematic showing the "display device" in both of its apparent modes. (Source: LetsGoDigital)
A schematic showing the "display device" in both of its apparent modes. (Source: LetsGoDigital)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 05 > Samsung patents a display that can fold...into a brick
Deirdre O Donnell, 2019-05-10 (Update: 2019-05-10)