In or out? Samsung’s shaking all of it about with folding smartphone designs

Samsung is apparently going full-speed ahead on folding phones, and is potentially planning to launch one with a design that works in the opposite way to the Galaxy Fold, making it similar to Huawei’s Mate X. Details on the outwardly folding phone are only just starting to come through, but we’re getting a good feel for how the phone may eventually look.

The Galaxy Fold folds inwards, hiding the main, large screen away leaving you to rely on an second screen on the outside of the phone afterwards. Samsung’s outward-folding phone will use a single large screen which folds in the center to create two smaller screens on the front and back on the folded device, in the same way Huawei’s Mate X operates.

A patent has given us a look at how Samsung’s phone may achieve the difficult feat of making this kind of device fold flat. Rather than solely rely on a complex hinge, the Samsung patent shows two separate body parts connected by a slider which locks into place when the device is open, and then slides to reduce the body size when folded. The patent shows how thin this device would be when folded using this method.

Unfolded, at least in the patent images, the mystery device has a design that closely resembles Samsung’s tablet range. Folded, the device looks very compact indeed. It appears Samsung may choose an unusual aspect ratio for the screen, and fold the device from top-to-bottom, rather than side-to-side, to minimize the height of the folded phone.

While patents do give us an indication of what a company’s design team may be working on, they are not final, confirmed evidence of a future product. Whether this type of folding smartphone, or elements seen in the patent, make it on to a production device is not known.

Samsung may release a single folding phone every year, as it does with its Galaxy S10 and Note range, or create a new family of folding devices released throughout the year. It’s not known which direction it will take at this time. In a report quoting sources familiar with Samsung’s plans, it’s stated Samsung will release an outward-folding smartphone after it releases a vertically folding phone, putting the launch date somewhere in 2020.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold will arrive on April 26 for $1,980.

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