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Why go foldable? New HUAWEI patent reveals phones with sliding display

TCL previously showed off a device with a sliding display, but HUAWEI is thinking about the design too.

Published onApril 16, 2020

A HUAWEI patent image, showing a phone with a slide-out display.

We’ve seen several smartphone manufacturers file patents for phones with slide-out displays, delivering a tablet-sized screen or other features. We’ve even seen TCL show off a prototype device, and now, it looks like Huawei is thinking about a sliding display design as well.

LetsGoDigital spotted a HUAWEI patent filing for two smartphones with a rollable, sliding display. The patent application, spotted in the World Intellectual Property Organization database, is in line with TCL’s prototype device.

Both phones in the patent stow the screen away at the back of the device when in smartphone mode, allowing you to use the main cameras for selfies. However, there’s a major difference between the two models.

Model A’s screen seems to be attached to a body that slides in and out of the phone. Meanwhile, the extended portion of the screen on the model B doesn’t seem to be attached to anything else. In theory, this means model B’s extended screen could be less durable. But this approach could potentially free up space on the inside of the phone, allowing for bigger batteries and other features as you don’t have to worry about accommodating a body inside of a body (yo dawg).

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: Love for all the wrong reasons
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip quarter fold.

LetsGoDigital also notes that model B’s approach seems to allow for more screen real estate, while model A only offers a little more screen area when the display is extended. So those looking for a full-blown tablet-sized screen might want to look at the second model.

It’s worth stressing that this isn’t definitive proof that HUAWEI will launch a smartphone with a sliding display like this. Companies file a ton of patents each year, and many don’t result in a commercial product.

Nevertheless, between TCL’s prototype display, HUAWEI’s latest patent, and similar filings from other manufacturers in the past, this could be the next major trend in smartphones.

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