Samsung is working on a foldable phone that could bring real innovation to an industry some fear is stagnating. A new patent, spotted by SamMobile on Thursday, shows Samsung actively looking into the possibilities of a foldable device that could help reduce the device’s footprint when not in use.
Samsung filed the patent just two weeks ago, suggesting this is a glimpse into the company’s recent research activities, rather than an invention considered months back. The patent appears to show a device that has a single display that folds, rather than two separate displays. The device has a pair of magnetic studs to keep the two pieces firmly together.
The invention would be a big change in an industry that some fear has a high chance of growing stagnant. In October 2015, the CEO of one of the world’s largest smartphone makers Xiaomi said that he sees a lull coming in smartphone innovation. According to Lei Jun, “wow” moments will be harder to come by during the next five years. Innovations like a foldable device would be fewer and far between, giving Samsung a competitive edge if it can make the technology work.
A foldable phone would mean being able to pack more screen real estate into a device that takes up less vertical room in the user’s pocket. Samsung received high praise from reviewers when its Galaxy S7 Edge launched, as the wraparound display meant it could fit a 5.5-inch screen into a smaller device that dropped the traditional screen bezels. The Edge variants of the Samsung Galaxy have demonstrated the company’s work in developing flexible OLED displays, but a foldable device would take this to a whole new level.