Once again, Samsung’s trying to think a step ahead with folding phone designs, as shown by its latest published patent, which adds physical gaming controls to a bendy smartphone body. If you imagine a Nintendo DS that had no bezel, and bends backwards instead of forwards, you aren’t far off.
The patent was spotted in the USPTO’s output by CNET, and was filed in October 2017. It shows a folding phone design, but one end features a D-Pad and six buttons, which can either sit at the bottom of the device when laid out, or can be bent backwards to lie on top of the display when it’s folded.
Sadly, since the controller section is so small compared to the whole phone, it’s bend is on a more traditional, mechanical-looking hinge, rather than the more natural bend used in the phone’s center.
There’s not a lot to this patent in comparison to others we’ve seen. It’s literally just a claim for this kind of case, not the technology that would enable it to become a reality. This is very much a starting point. Remember that patents don’t have to mean a product is being actively developed, just that someone thought of it and wanted to make sure it couldn’t be copied easily.
All the same, combining device flexibility with dedicated gaming controls does stand a chance of being popular. Players are always keen to have bigger screens after all, and what better way to do that on a phone than with a screen that can fold up when you don’t need it?
Samsung’s Galaxy F (as it is currently unofficially known) has been making small appearances at events and in the news, causing excitement as it will likely be the first foldable phone to be made by a major smartphone manufacturer.
There are many who are skeptical of the idea that these phones will become popular, such as the CEO of Honor. However, perhaps seemingly niche use cases such as the one put forward in this patent, or Samsung’s other recent patent for a phone with detachable twin screens, could help.
The more weird and wacky variations we get, the more likely it will be that smartphone makers find the one that’s appealing to enough users to make folding phones take off. Even if it’s one that looks like a mutated handheld games console.