+ Thursday November 14th, 2019

The flexible, foldable phone is like a mirage hanging over an oasis on the horizon of the tech industry. We’ll get there sooner or later – probably – but there’s probably going to be some missteps and misunderstandings along the way.

A newly-granted patent from Samsung along with a promotional video from the company teasing a folding future, has a few heads bring scratched.

The patent listing (D840,394 – filed in September 2017 and granted a couple of days ago), illustrates a phone with two Infinity displays – the ones with the curvy edges that are decidedly not flexible – front and back, that unfolds to the approximate size of a tablet.

It’s not unlike the dual screen folding phones we’ve seen over the last couple of years – ZTE’s Axon M is perhaps the most notable. Those phones tend to look and feel like two phones stuck together, with additions to Android designed to resize the active display area when opened.

Curiously, Samsung’s released another teaser video for next week’s Unpacked event, again using the phrase “The future unfolds” with the Korean text they’re using to promote the concept flowing over the edges of what looks like … two … infinity displays. Stuck together.

That shot again?

Hmm. Looks rather like that patent, doesn’t it?

Danish website LetsGoDigital commissioned 3D renders based on the patent designs, and the result … well, it kind of looks like two Galaxy Notes from yesteryear stuck together.

LetsGoDigital mockup of Samsung dual-screen foldable phone, based on patent.

It’s certainly a foldable phone, but it’s not using anything even remotely approaching a flexible display now, is it? It also doesn’t look much like the foldable flexiblebconcept phone Samsung showed on stage at their developer event late last year.

How will the future unfold?

By all accounts, Samsung is expected to introduce a foldable flexible smartphone next week at their San Fransisco Unpacked event.

That phone – rumoured to be known as the Galaxy F, or Galaxy Flex – hasn’t been the subject of a deluge of rumours, leaks, public sightings and tea-leaf-readings in the lead-up to the event. It might not actually be ready for launch just yet.

Given the alleged astronomical price tag attached to the foldable flexible phone, perhaps Samsung is intending to introduce the dual screen foldable phone as a more budget-minded, wallet friendly alternative? It’s also possible that this was the direction Samsung intended to go back in 2017, only for advancements in flexible display technology to eclipse the dual-screen concept.

Maybe Samsung is just enjoying toying with us all.

We’re just a week away from finding the answers to everything. The future will unfold – one way or another – next Friday morning, local time.

Source: USPTO.

Jason Murray   Deputy Editor

Jason Murray

Before discovering the Nexus One, Jason thought he didn't need a smartphone. Now he can't bear to be without his Android phone. Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly large collection of Transformers figures. He'd like to think he's a gamer, but his Wii has been in a box since he moved to Sydney, and his PlayStation Vita collection is quite lacking. Most mornings you'll find him tilting at various windmills on Twitter - follow @JM77 and say hi!

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