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Samsung envisions a phone with a weird sideways folding screen

Thought Samsung's current foldables weren't quirky enough?
By
March 7, 2022
TL;DR
  • A Samsung patent has revealed a phone with a sideways folding display.
  • The display unfolds from the left to extend the top half of the phone.

Samsung is no stranger to quirky designs, with its recent foldable phones, in particular, going against the grain compared to traditional smartphones. However, it looks like a newly uncovered patent has revealed quite possibly the strangest Samsung phone design we’ve seen in a while.

Read more: How do folding screens actually work?

Let’s Go Digital uncovered a 2o21 patent filed with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), showing a smartphone with a sideways flipping display. Check out the images above and below.

The folding display is situated on the top half of the phone, curving around the back and sitting next to the rear cameras when not in use. Unfold the display from the left and you’ve got an extended screen for the front, although this extension again only applies to the top half. This gives a rough number seven shape of sorts or an upside-down L shape.

According to Let’s Go Digital, the design features a hinge on the lower left-hand side, as well as three magnets to keep the display stuck to the back cover when folded. The patent also notes that the screen has ultra-thin glass for protection.

There are a couple of mooted use cases for a design like this, mainly focused on multitasking. You could theoretically have your camera viewfinder on the top half of the unfolded display and your camera controls or a different app altogether in the bottom half.

Would you buy a phone with this design?

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The top half of the screen could also potentially be used for YouTube or other forms of video playback, while other apps are running on the lower half of the screen (much like the LG Wing). This design could also be handy for selfies with the rear cameras, using the folded display on the rear as a viewfinder.

We still have several questions about this design though. Foldable screens offer improved durability these days, but they’re still not as tough as traditional Gorilla Glass-clad displays. And the fact that this is an out-folding screen means that the display could be damaged more easily.

We’ve also seen Samsung’s latest foldables boast water resistance but no dust resistance. So we’re guessing that ingress protection will be a concern here too.

Either way, this is just a patent for now and there’s no guarantee that this will see a commercial release.