While the idea of regular smartphones is reaching the peak of its capabilities, the immediate future of smartphones is likely to go the folding way. Screen development could reach the point where it’s commercially viable to manufacture folding screens for smartphones and tablets soon. The surest sign of this is a new patent filing by Lenovo-owned Motorola, which shows a concept for a device that will work as both a smartphone and a tablet, thanks to a folding screen.
Discovered by Netherlands-based website LetsGoDigital, the sketches that are part of the patent filing show a device with a large screen and a hinge running vertically down the middle. While the hinge is expected to maintain stability for the whole device, the screen itself will fold both inwards and outwards along with the hinge. Folded up completely, it will take the form of a smartphone, while open mode will let the device be used as a tablet.
The sketches show other form factors as well, including tent mode, an entirely-closed book-like mode and also a carry case that we aren’t sure is even a case. If it is one, the sketches show it acting as a cover for the screen with a cutout for basic information, as well as a base for use in tent mode. Of course, these being sketches, it’s quite possible that this entire concept may never even see the light of day. Or the concept that does arrive in the form of a product could be completely different to what we’re seeing here.
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The earliest that we’re likely to see an actual foldable phone could be by the end of the year, as Samsung is said to be closest to completion of its concept. Naturally, the product will be expensive at first, as is usually the case with new technology. Samsung’s expertise with screen manufacturing and its leadership in the field means that it’s likely to be the first to market.