A new patent dug up and rendered by the Dutch tech blog Lets Go Digital shows a phone that doesn’t fold but instead extends its display by sliding out the right part of the candybar.
There are people who would like a phone that can be extended into a bigger, tablet-like display without sacrificing portability or durability. And this expandable Samsung Galaxy patent may be the Holy Grail.
According to the patent published by the Korean Intellectual Propertuy Office on June 24, doing this will make the display 50% bigger than on its regular mode.
While the patent doesn’t disclose how this is achieved, it seems like the only way to do it would be to use a rollable display with its axis placed vertically on the left side of the phone.
It’s unlikely that the Seoul-based company would release such a futuristic phone soon. Samsung Display first showed its rollable screen technology in 2016. That OLED panel required a large radius on its roll part to avoid damaging the display and, while a lot of time has passed, it is unlikely the radius has been reduced so much as to allow for the design shown in the patent.
That said, this is clearly where the company is headed. Samsung has already patented another rollable phone that extends vertically.
LG is also working on rollable phones. The Korean company has already released a rollable product that belongs in a sci-fi movie: the LG Signature OLED TV R, a 65-inch 4K screen that rolls out of a large sound bar.
Samsung is also preparing new alternative formats to the classic candybar design that has become ubiquitous in the phone world. In addition to the Galaxy Fold, the company is reportedly working on a clamshell design like the foldable Motorola Razr. It also may be working on a Galaxy Fold with an outer display, like the Huawei Mate X.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s troubles have been fixed, according to executives, and it’s being tested now in the wild before a new launch. The company will likely look at how the market responds before releasing any other foldable or rollable phones.
According to Samsung Mobile CEO DJ Ko, the Korean conglomerate remain committed to flexible displays no matter what. I have no doubt that a phone like the one in this patent awaits three or four years away.