In late July Samsung launched their new foldable smartphone called Galaxy Z Flip 5G in a new stylish and compact form factor that reinforced Samsung’s ongoing commitment to expanding their foldable category. Then on September first Samsung launched their revised Galaxy Fold2.
Last Tuesday Samsung was granted patents for these two foldable device form factors using their first generation Infinity Flex Display technology.
For the Galaxy Z Flip phone: Samsung’s patent FIG. 2 below is a view illustrating an example of a hinge state of a foldable display device; FIG. 7 is a view illustrating a rotation state of a hinge structure of a foldable display device; FIG. 16 is a view illustrating an example of a first folding angle state of a housing and a hinge structure.
For the Galaxy Z Fold2 phone: Samsung’s patent FIG. 31 below is a view illustrating folding states for specific angles of a foldable display device including a second type hinge housing; FIG. 36 is an exploded perspective view of a foldable display device including a third type hinge housing.
For the first two form factors, see granted patent titled “Foldable display device” for more details. Samsung’s granted patent 10,775,852 published on Sept 15 was originally file in Q4 2018.
For Future Scrollable or Rollable phone: Samsung’s patent FIG. 1 below schematically illustrates a rollable display apparatus according to an exemplary embodiment of the present inventive concept; FIG. 3 schematically shows the flexible display panel of the rollable display apparatus of FIG. 1, being combined with a main body portion; FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the rollable display apparatus in a rolled up mode.
Samsung’s granted patent 10,775,848 was issued on September 15, 2020 and originally filed in Q2 2017. For more details check out the full patent filing here.
Samsung’s scrollable smart device doesn’t have to be limited to a smartphone. This device form factor could be marketed as a mobile TV with a larger display that’s not meant to used for touch controls or even S-Pen input. Samsung’s patent doesn’t provide marketing ideas, it’s just a bare bones technical patent. The TV application is simply something Patently Apple is suggesting could be a possibility for this form factor in the future.
Samsung’s new challenger is Microsoft with this year’s Surface Duo smartphone. As a new form factor to market from Microsoft, it’s just too rough around the edges to be a recommended product as a first generation device.
However, every reviewer thought that the Surface Duo form factor was insanely thin and light with a phenomenal folding experience. Meaning that the mechanics of this device were a marvel, a hands down winner.
Once there’s more software taking advantage of this new form factor and the operating system ironed out with a touch of Windows, this could technically challenge and/or beat Samsung’s foldables in the next year or two. But like Samsung’s Galaxy Note, the Surface Duo caters to a distinct user-type that demands multitasking to the extreme, be they students or busy executives.
Then again, once the price hits $999, mainstream consumers may begin to take more of an interest in this new category of device, especially if Apple enters the market with a new tier of iPhones as their patents suggest is a real possibility.