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Motorola patent suggests Razr foldable with a ton of shortcut keys

Motorola's patent filing shows a clamshell foldable phone with eight touch-based sensors.

Published onNovember 25, 2019

A Motorola Razr foldable phone patent image.

The Motorola Razr is probably one of the best takes on foldable phones we’ve seen in 2019. Sure, it doesn’t have a tablet-sized screen, but we get a more durable clamshell design like the Razr V3.

It looks like Motorola is thinking about the future already though, as Let’s Go Digital spotted a patent filing for another Razr-style foldable phone. This filing shows off the clamshell form factor, complete with a secondary screen on the outside — seem familiar?

The patent images show a phone with eight side-mounted touch sensors, essentially being virtual buttons that can be pressed or swiped to launch different features. The filing shows four sensors on the left-hand side and four sensors on the right. These sensors essentially get combined when the device is closed (a so-called “cumulative sensor mode”), enabling different functionality depending on the form factor.

Will the next Motorola Razr foldable take a page out of Google's Active Edge playbook?

This means you could potentially touch a sensor when the device is open to launch your favorite app. Device closed? Then you could theoretically summon Google Assistant or launch the selfie camera instead by touching the combined sensors. In fact, Let’s Go Digital reports that the touch sensors enable 20 different functions and gestures.

These sensors seem like an interesting take on shortcut functions seen on other devices, with the likes of HTC and Google using Active Edge squeeze functionality. Meanwhile, BlackBerry packs a convenience key which can be mapped to a function of your choosing. But we do wonder how Motorola will reduce false positives if it chooses to take this route. After all, the last thing you want is for the device sensors to constantly activate when you’re simply holding the phone.

Motorola Razr vs Samsung Galaxy Fold: Battle of the fold
Moto Razr foldable folded sitting in box speaker

Motorola’s patent also notes the possibility of slapping a touch sensor on the side of the hinge itself, capable of detecting up, down, and swipe movements. It’s a rather odd place for a sensor in lieu of the other sensors featured in this filing.

It’s also worth noting that the patent images show a phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor. The new Motorola Razr foldable packs a fingerprint on its chin, while Samsung and Huawei‘s foldables offer side-mounted scanners. So a Motorola Razr with an in-display scanner would be a first for foldable devices.

This is just a patent filing after all, so there’s absolutely no guarantee that this is the Razr 2 or even a commercial release. But the foldable Razr was also just a patent when we first saw it back in August 2018.

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