Samsung appears to be working on a foldable tablet with physical keyboard. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Samsung is believed to be working on a foldable tablet with physical keyboard as more patents detailing the device emerged online. The latest granted patent of the South Korean giant provides an illustration of the multi-fold tablet and its physical keyboard that is situated on one of its folding panels.

Patently Mobile reported over the weekend about a new design patent that was granted to the Galaxy S9 maker. The patent was originally filed almost two years ago, specifically in September 2016, but it was granted to Samsung early last week.

As per the patent, which was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Samsung’s foldable tablet will have two foldable panels on either side of the display. The reason is for the two foldable panels to protect the main display when they are folded in.

One of the foldable panels is said to have the main purpose of acting as a sub-display unit. This panel will be made of a flexible display that houses several sensors like the illumination sensor, proximity sensor, gyro sensor, gravity sensor and more. Meanwhile, the other foldable panel will be a key input unit.

Nothing else is mentioned about the physical keyboard of the device. On the other hand, Samsung indicated that the sub-display unit serves another purpose when the tablet is in folded configuration. Its transparent cover at the back acts as “a quick-view display” that shows text messages, received calls and other simple information when the foldable panels are covering the main display.

The news on the new Samsung patent comes a week after South Korean news site Etnews disclosed that Chinese phone maker Huawei is preparing to launch a true foldable phone this November. If true, then Huawei would beat Samsung and Apple in the race to be the first company to commercially launch foldable smartphones.

As previously reported, Samsung is looking to debut its foldable phone, currently dubbed the Galaxy X, either in December 2018 or early next year. Contrariwise, Apple is believed to be releasing a foldable iPhone by 2020. Other companies that are joining the foldable phone market are Oppo, Lenovo and ZTE, but there are very limited information about their devices at this point.