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After Samsung, Microsoft and Nokia, LG files patent for a foldable smartphone

The patent explains a device that opens up like a tablet and can be used in tent-mode.

LG-foldable phone-2

It looks like LG can’t have enough of foldable displays. After building rollable TV screens and displays, the company is now looking at bringing the technology to smartphones. LG has filed a new patent for a foldable smartphone that comes with a mechanism allowing for the device to be folded on the vertical side. This basically means, when you open up the smartphone it is a tablet-like device in landscape mode.

What makes it interesting is that the patent explains the purported smartphone as having a touchscreen display on the front as well as back while the bending side or hinge of the foldable phone could be used as a music controller or notification bar, GSMArena notes. With the second display at the back, a camera with flash is positioned, along with a fingerprint sensor and the power button.

Based on the images shown in the patent, the purported LG smartphone could be positioned in a tent mode such as modern-day notebooks. As is the case with all patents, one needs to take even this information with a pinch of salt because not every patented technology is launched, and at times these are mere concepts which are meant for research purposes. ALSO READ: Microsoft’s latest patent application hints at a foldable phone that could turn into a tablet

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It is to be noted that while LG has long been associated with developing as well as commercializing foldable or rollable displays in the past, the technology has not yet been explored in the smartphone business. In the past, we have seen rumors about a Samsung Galaxy smartphone that could be folded like a pocketbook and when opened, allows for a tablet-like interface. So far, we are yet to see if such a smartphone from Samsung will ever make it to the consumer hands. Recently, details about foldable Galaxy X1 and Galaxy X1 Plus smartphones have emerged online, hinting at devices which bend from the middle. It further referred to a design similar to the LG smartphone with a display both in the front and back which can be turned into a 7-inch tablet.

Another patent filed by Microsoft suggests that the company may also be working on a foldable smartphone that converts into a tablet. According to Microsoft’s patent application, the smartphone has a flexible hinge and display that would transform it into a tablet. It also hints at a device that could be used in a tent mode similar to Lenovo’s range of Yoga tablets. It is worth mentioning that the flexible hinge in the Microsoft patent is again similar to what LG is intending to develop. Meanwhile, Nokia, which recently re-entered the smartphone business with its Nokia 6, has also filed a patent for a ‘foldable device’. The accompanying images of the purported smartphone hint at a display that bends in the middle and folds into an even smaller device.

Although the patent by LG is the latest, if it is anything to go by, we might we might be able to at least see a concept version of the futuristic smartphone at the upcoming MWC 2017. 

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  • Published Date: January 18, 2017 5:46 PM IST
  • Updated Date: January 18, 2017 5:54 PM IST