Samsung's latest foldable device brainwave comes in the form of a larger device that uses two folding panels that close on the center of the phone. Plus it has room for a stylus.
The so-called Samsung Galaxy Z Fold Tab comes from a Samsung patent found by LetsGoDigital, which shows off a foldable device with an included S Pen stylus. If foldable tablets are to become a thing, this method seems like a good way to do it.
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The Galaxy Z Fold Tab name comes from LGD trying to figure out the most logical name Samsung would use. The patent itself bears the offputtingly plain title of "Foldable Electronic Device Including Electronic Pen."
As shown in these renders made by Sarang Sheth of Yanko Design, the S Pen is magnetically attached to either edge of the tablet. When folded up, the S Pen rests securely between the two edges, leaving little chance of it getting knocked loose.
Making this foldable in a tri-fold pattern has a practical advantage, LetsGoDigital notes. An S-folding device, much like the one Samsung Display just showed off, ends up a lot thicker when closed, while this triptych-style keeps the closed device thinner. However perhaps portability is less important for a foldable tablet, since it's not a device meant to be used as regularly on the move as a folding phone might be.
Single folds don't seem to be enough for Samsung, however. The patent shows that these panels can be folded backward or forwards, meaning as well as having the tablet either fully open or shut, there's also a more compact mode using only the central portion of the screen.
Another patent filed by Samsung and found by LGD discusses how a foldable device like this might be used. It mentions multiple app windows open at once, with the interface adapting to whether the display is open or closed, and users able to swap around app positions at will. This sounds similar to existing software on current foldable phones, as well as the recently leaked Split UI operating system designed with flexible devices in mind.
Unless Samsung's kept it really quiet, this design won't be appearing on store shelves any time soon. We are expecting its next-gen foldable phones, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, to appear in late summer or early fall. However these devices, according to the leaks we've seen so far, will look a lot like their predecessors.
Not that there's nothing new to look forward to on these phones. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is believed to be getting S Pen compatibility and an under-display camera to make the most of its large display, while the Galaxy Z Flip 3 may receive a price cut to make it more accessible to normal users.
Given the foldable market is still small right now, it's very likely both these phones become recommendations in our best foldable phones rankings.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.