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Samsung Just Patented the Phone Design of Tomorrow

Samsung reportedly has multiple phones in development for 2017, including what are likely two flavors of the Galaxy S8, but what has the most people buzzing is a possible third device that could fold.

But it won't be like the clamshells of old.

Credit: GalaxyClub

(Image credit: GalaxyClub)

According to Dutch site GalaxyClub (via BGR), a recent patent application reveals a "Project Valley" device that sports both a flexible hinge and display. Even more intriguing is the possibility that the hinge could move across the phone, letting users fold the phone in more than one way.

MORE: Galaxy S8 Has Found Its Secret Weapon Against iPhone

It gets better. The patent says that the device can be "folded or unfolded semi automatically" and that (according to International Business Times) there's a secondary display that activates when you fold the device. In other words, you could take your pick from small-screen phone or phablet in the same device.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Samsung had a pair of phones in development with bendable OLED screens. At the time, the new phones were said to make their debut at Mobile World Congress in February 2017, but given that Samsung has reportedly pushed back the launch of the Galaxy S8 until April, the company may decide to wait a bit longer.

Samsung isn't the only company working on bendable phones. Lenovo showed off its own foldable concept this summer, and we had a chance to get up close with the wild handset, which you can wear as a bracelet. Apple was also recently awarded a patent for a foldable iPhone.

If you're tired of the same plain-looking slabs in different colors, 2017 should be a very interesting year for phone design.

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for nearly 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.

  • Daekar3
    This is only interesting if it allows me to carry a larger screen (6"+) more conveniently. Otherwise it's just a gimmick.