There are two competing foldable concepts out there. I’m not talking about tablet vs clamshell but the foldable taco — like the Galaxy Fold — vs the foldable sandwich — like the Razr. The first is wrong and Samsung knows it, so the company has decided to steal Motorola’s hinge design for its future clamshell.
For all its market share superiority and despite the apparent sales success of the Galaxy Fold — reportedly 500,000 units sold so far at $2,000 a pop — we know that the core design of the first Samsung foldable is, to put it kindly, flawed. And that starts with its taco nature.
Like a cochinita pibil taco, the Galaxy Fold doesn’t fold completely — it always has a gap because the screen needs a curve when folded in order not to break. Unlike a piece of paper, current flexible screens don’t fold perfectly flat.
The Motorola Razr design team worked around the limitation of these displays by hiding the curve inside the phones chasis. When you close the Razr, the screen recedes into the body of the phone, which has enough space to fit the curve needed by the flexible panel to fold but not break. The result is a clamshell telephone that closes perfectly.
It’s a genius idea that works great.
So good that Samsung has decided to steal the concept for its own foldable clamshell, which may become the Galaxy Fold 2. The trademark — dug by Dutch blog LetsGoDigital — was filed in the European Union Intellectual Property Office on December 2. It’s titled “Samsung Hideaway Hinge” and it applies to smartphones and tablet computers.
The new Galaxy Fold — which was teased at the Samsung developer conference — is rumored to be a clamshell design that may have a sub-$900 price tag, an extremely attractive proposition but also an unlikely one. It seems reasonable that this phone would be able to compete head to head against the Razr, which has apparently captured the hearts of critics and users despite its power shortcomings thanks to its sleek design. Without its neat hidden hinge mechanism, this would have never been possible. And it seems that Samsung agrees.
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Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.