Samsung’s foldable tablet could look like this

by: Bogdan PetrovanJune 11, 2015

The Korean Intellectual Property Office just published a design patent that may give us a better idea of what to expect from Samsung’s future foldable devices.

Samsung applied for patent No. 30-0757696 in November 2013, and today the Korea Intellectual Property Office published it (via Dutch website GalaxyClub). This is a design registration patent, meaning it covers the actual appearance of a hypothetical device, or at least certain elements of it.

The patent shows a foldable tablet (or a large smartphone), with two seams and a flexible screen that allow it to fold into three segments, the way you would fold a map or a flyer.

Here’s a look at the entire design in its open form.

samsung foldable tablet

And here’s how Samsung envisions the device in its folded state.

samsung foldable patent tablet  (1)

While this illustration shows the device’s profile.

samsung foldable patent tablet  (3)

It looks like the tablet will feature a sort of spine, that would give it some rigidity when folded, analogous to the spine of a book.

samsung foldable patent tablet  (2)

The patent shows an avenue that Samsung could take when it comes to designing and building convertible devices. A smartphone could unfold into a tablet in just a few seconds; a tablet could become a widescreen monitor just as easily.

It’s important to keep ourselves grounded in reality, at least for now. As with all patents, there’s a fairly good chance that Samsung is just protecting a concept, without a clear intention – or for the matter, the potential – to turn it into reality.

There are many difficult technical problems that Samsung needs to crack in order to create a viable foldable product. But if anyone can do it, it’s the Korean giant, with its massive display-manufacturing arm, huge R&D budget, and desire to differentiate itself from a wave of cheaper competitors.

This is the latest in a series of patents for foldable technologies issued to Samsung over the past years. Just this week, another patent revealed a simpler one-seam folding device, a design that could come to life through the rumored Project Valley.

If you’re still skeptical, consider that Samsung is already firmly into almost-sci-fi territory with devices like transparent and mirror displays.

Would you see yourself using a folding device such as the one in this patent?

  • kariaya

    Samsung just showed everyone how it should be done. After you folded it up, there is one side with the screen facing out. This is brilliant. Lot of stupid(ignorance) tech writers complained about non-flexible electronic component like battery and internal chip….for what??? A flexible screen device doesn’t mean the damned thing need to imitate a magazine or piece of paper. We still need a rigid screen area to touch and interact with our apps etc.

  • MattEgansHairLine

    They show everything but the screen and its joints. Usual render no product, again, just like chrome book

  • pseudo

    I would buy this.

    They could put a smaller battery in each segment therefore making it space efficient.

  • jasonlowr

    I will buy it if this is made available

  • Stalin

    They do good. BATMAN APPROVES IT b

  • crutchcorn

    This is brilliant! Go Samsung!

  • Kamalnath Kanthimathinathan

    It looks like a promising concept…:)
    would love to see how they’re going to keep the device sturdy when it’s unfolded….