Smartphone manufacturers are continuing to patent and tinker with unique ideas for foldable phone designs. And a newly published patent application made by Google is particularly wild.
Found in the database of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) by LetsGoDigital, this 2018 patent depicts a device with three foldable sections, bound together within a hard shell, essentially looking like a very thin hardback book.
This is based on a previous Google patent filed in June 2018 and granted in April 2019, which shows how a single one of the flexible pages would function. The new patent repeats a lot of this material, but adds the idea of combining multiple pages together with a single hinge, along with a stiff outer shell to keep the processor, battery and other internal components safe.
The text of the patent says that the five-page configuration is just for an example, and any device that resulted from this application could have any number of ‘pages’. The pages can either work together to act as a larger display, or could act independently as smaller ones, depending on the exact implementation.
If you’re curious as to what the point of this kind of device would be, the patent briefly describes that a standard foldable phone may be inconvenient to swap between folded and unfolded modes, and even then may be unwieldy or too small for practical use. Swapping between the differently organized ‘pages’ of this device could therefore be more convenient, the patent states.
With this being a patent, it’s no guarantee there will eventually be a Pixel or any other kind of Google device with this technology or exact shape implemented. All it means is that Google can use this concept if it wishes.
It would take several years to develop something like this anyway, particularly when we have yet to see Google debut any kind of foldable device yet. Basically, keep your expectations and excitement in check.
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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.