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Lenovo patents clamshell foldable phone with outside screen, weird hinge

Lenovo's foldable phone patent shows a clamshell design that doesn't actually protect the primary screen.

Published onApril 3, 2019

A render based on a Lenovo patent, showing a foldable phone.

We’ve already seen a patent for a clamshell Motorola foldable phone, but it looks like the brand’s parent company is hard at work in the field too. According to Let’s Go Digital, Lenovo has filed a patent for a clamshell foldable phone with a few key differences.

The patent, filed on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website, shows a clamshell phone that opens up to reveal a tall display. We also see a rather large hinge here, allowing the phone to fold at multiple points (rather than one fixed point).

A patent drawing, showing a Lenovo foldable phone.

Further, Lenovo’s patent shows that the device has a small screen on the lower section of its back (as seen above). This screen could potentially be used for notifications, quick setting toggles, and time/date functionality when the device is folded. But the secondary display could be used when unfolded too, theoretically allowing subjects to see themselves when you’re taking photos (although your hand might block this screen).

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One major concern about this clamshell design is that it doesn’t fold completely in half. This means the main screen isn’t protected when folded, as the top is exposed. You’d think that one of the key advantages of a clamshell design is complete protection for the main screen, right?

This Lenovo foldable phone is still just a patent at this point, so it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see this device any time soon (if at all). Motorola is also tipped to launch a RAZR foldable device that seems more practical than this patent.

The foldable phone landscape is also heating up thanks to front-runners Samsung and Huawei. And with Xiaomi and Oppo demonstrating products too, it looks like consumers might be spoilt for choice in the coming months.

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