Samsung may not be off to a great start with its first foldable smartphone, but it seems it has another flexible display idea up its sleeve to fall back on. Let’s Go Digital (via Gizmodo) recently unearthed a Samsung patent for a roll-up smartphone screen, and if you think the Galaxy Fold looks weird, wait until you get a load of this.
The patent shows a device that could seemingly be used as a regular phone, featuring something like a 16:9 display. However, the user would also be able to unroll the screen, tucked inside the phone’s body, to increase its area — possibly by a couple of inches or so.
The top portion of the display, which looks like it would contain a bezel with typical smartphone sensors, would slide upwards to accommodate the extra screen area.
This is more than just a typical-looking smartphone with a hidden sliding mechanism; it seems additional space would be required in the bottom half of the unit to facilitate the rolling mechanism, which is where the phone would be thickest. It’s unclear exactly how the unit would move — whether by an automatic system or by manually rolling the screen upwards — or what it would enable the device to do.
It may offer the much the same benefit as the Galaxy Fold: a smart device with a small form factor that can be expanded for additional functionality. The Galaxy Roll, as we’re calling the potential phone, could maintain a pocket-friendly size while retracted, while offering a better media viewing and multitasking experience when extended.
Lets Go Digital notes only the roll-up mechanism is patented, not the outward smartphone design, however; it could look completely different if it ever went into production.
Any other interesting tidbits?
We come across many smartphone patent filings, but what’s interesting about this one is how recent it is. According to Let’s Go Digital, the patent was filed with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) only at the end of last year: November 28, 2018.
This was after Samsung had shown off the Galaxy Fold for the first time — presumably, years after Samsung first started developing it. This suggests Samsung already understood the viability of such a flexible display device, and still believed the patent could be fruitful. Perhaps what it learned through the Galaxy Fold development gave it even more confidence in such a product.
Meanwhile, LG has been designing rolling TV displays and is set to launch a commercial product with one this year — so the technology is already there in some capacity.
All of that being said, patents don’t mean proof of impending phones; tech companies produce thousands of them, and we saw many folding phone patents before the Galaxy Fold was announced. Still, the Galaxy Fold was announced, eventually, so who knows what the future holds for this product.
Do you think this Galaxy Roll concept looks better than the Galaxy Fold? Let me know in the comments.