Would you want to wear your phone on your wrist at all times, and then turn it into a (long!) candybar when you need it? This is what this new Samsung patent proposes.
But rather than making the phone into a watch with a tiny screen — like Nubia’s incoming foldable watch-phone — it will be a full-display phone that bends into a 70s-style wristband.
The patent — filed last week with the World Intellectual Property Organization — shows a futuristic phone that can bend around your arm using a threaded metal chassis, like the ones you see in some watches’ wristbands.
The display would only bend in one direction. The patent describes powerful magnets on each end of the phone that will close the phone once you put it around your wrist. The document says that the SIM card would be inserted on the top while a USB-C port will be on its bottom.
The futuristic device is not a crazy sci-fi proposition, even if it looks like one. It is doable with current technology or stuff that we know exists in labs or is on the verge of production.
We have seen flexible displays that bend to this angle. Inside, flexible batteries and circuits can power the phone. And while it’s not clear what the back surface could be, such a design might use a metal-colored flexible polymer with metal segments.
Samsung betting on foldable
Another recent unearthed patent shows another clamshell model with its display on the outside.
We don’t know if these patents will turn into a final consumer product or not, but it is clear that Samsung’s research teams are actively working beyond the current Samsung Galaxy Fold.
It makes sense. The market is so new that the Seoul-based company seems to be trying to cover all bases. In a market that is saturated with similar phones, it’s the smart thing to do.
It looks like foldable phones are here to stay and thrive. Whoever wins the foldable wars will own a very lucrative future — until the next big thing comes. Samsung is doing everything it can to try to push the envelope ahead of Apple, Huawei, and the rest of Android players.
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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.