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Motorola's Foldable Phone Breakthrough Is Literally Hot

Foldable phones sound nifty on paper, but how do you prevent creasing on the display where it folds up?

LetsGoDigital has spotted a patent from Motorola for a "method to recover permanent set in a foldable display." The document outlines a clever way to combat the issue.

Credit: USPTO

(Image credit: USPTO)

The patent's abstract, spotted by TechRadar, explains that its concept phone will contain sensors that keep an eye on how long the phone has been in a certain folded position. If the phone has been folded long enough to leave a permanent crease, that area of the display will heat up. This, the patent alleges, will counter the deformation.

MORE: Samsung Galaxy X Rumors: Foldable Phone Release Date, Specs ...

Before you get too excited, remember that foldable smartphones have a long way to go. ZTE's last attempt to release one, the ZTE Axon M, was...a work in progress. 

No manufacturer yet has found a way to seamlessly connect two displays, and phones that have tried have left a very awkward crease between the two of them that makes watching videos cumbersome, and doesn't add much to the user experience.

Over the past year, companies have proposed various solutions. In March, Apple received a patent for a battery cell integrated with the display that would roll and unroll as the phone folded. Samsung's upcoming Galaxy X appears to boast a cylindrical hinge that revolves around the outside of the device. But these ideas still exist only in patents, which don't always come to fruition. 

Additional patents for Motorola's foldable phone indicate that the device may contain contain two cameras: a selfie camera on the front left, and a dual camera on the top right. Hinges are placed on the top center and top bottom, so the phone can be propped up like a tent. It would consist of, according to the patent, "three parts which are movably coupled together to enable the selective positioning of the parts, relative to one another, between multiple different types of use positions."

In other words, if you leave it folded at various angles, it should stay there rather than snapping shut.

Those are pretty much all the details we have on this mysterious phone at the moment. But if Motorola wants to beat Samsung's and Apple's foldable concepts to market, there's no time to waste.

Monica Chin is a writer at The Verge, covering computers. Previously, she was a staff writer for Tom's Guide, covering artificial intelligence and the internet of things. You can usually find her at poetry slams, attempting to exercise, or yelling at people on Twitter.