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LG files patent for possible folding smartphone-tablet hybrid (update: more patents)
Update (Jan 27):
A growing number of companies seem to be pushing their own patents out for foldable and bendable displays and LG is certainly among these players. Earlier this month we reported on a few interesting foldable patents from LG, now here are a few more. As you can see, the patents in question here (US D777,131 S, US D777,132 S) are quite different looking from the earlier patents.
The LG patents suggest a device that folds inward, instead of outward like Samsung’s patents have previously pointed to. As for if and when they might make it into an actual product? That’s anyone’s guess, but it’s clear that LG is certainly investing heavily into the idea of foldable tablets, at least on the conceptual side of things. Could 2017 be the year finally see the first true foldable handsets?
For more details, head over to TrendyTechz.
Original (Jan 18):
We have seen lots of patents and mockups of foldable displays and smartphones in the past few years. However, none of them have actually been launched as consumer products. Today, LG is the latest to file a patent for a foldable device, but this time rumors claim that the company really does plan to launch such a product in the near future.
In its patent, which was recently filed in its home country of South Korea, LG’s diagrams seem to show that this display wraps around the outside of the actual phone/tablet hybrid. There’s a place on the side of the device when in phone mode that is not covered up by the display, which could be used for a front-facing selfie-camera, a fingerprint reader or some other kind of control. It also seems to show virtual media controls on the device’s spine when in phone mode.
When the phone opens up to show its full display in tablet mode, the patent designs show that the control strip is covered up, perhaps because LG’s patent creators do not believe users will be accessing those features when the device is in full tablet mode.
It’s important to point out that most of the time, companies that file these kinds of patents don’t usually turn them into full fledged products. However, it’s very possible that aspects of this LG patent could find its way into a future foldable smartphone.
LG Display is reportedly working with several phone companies on the development of out-foldable OLED panels for a launch sometime in 2018, and its likely the company will use these displays in its own phones as well. Meanwhile, rival Samsung, which has been open about developing foldable smartphones in the past few years, is rumored to be working on an actual consumer phone with this feature. It is reportedly being set up for a launch sometime in 2018 as well.