We recently told you about a patent Samsung received for a phone with a rollable, retractable display. This would allow the user to pull a smartphone from both sides and turn the device into a tablet. The screen would stretch out, attached to rails that would allow it to expand. Now, Samsung has received a patent from the KIPO (Korean Intellectual Property Office) for another phone that becomes a tablet, this time through the use of a hidden screen that is pulled out from the right side of the device when needed. Samsung filed the patent application at the end of 2018 and it was granted in May (via LetsGo Digital).
Samsung received a design patent, so we won't be able to go into details telling you exactly how the mechanism works. All we know is that pulling out the hidden screen increases the size of the display by 50%. Thus, a 6-inch smartphone can turn into a 9-inch tablet. The illustrations from the patent application and the renders show that the hidden screen rides on a track or some grooves in order to open and close. They also don't seem to show any crease or separation between the two screens when they join to form the larger tablet-sized display. How this is accomplished remains a mystery for now. You might have noticed the dual punch-hole cameras that appear at the front of the screen
Render from Lets Go Digital shows the retractable screen fully extended
This is a completely different form factor than the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The latter, the first foldable handset from a major manufacturer, was all set to be released on April 26th. But four days before it was supposed to start shipping, Samsung delayed the launch. The story, well documented by now, started with some influencers who failed to heed a warning that Samsung included with Galaxy Fold review units. A group of these individuals started peeling a plastic film off the internal display much like one would do when they purchase a new smartphone. However, this damaged the large 7.3-inch display on the Galaxy Fold. In addition, at least one influencer had debris enter his review unit through an opening at the top of the hinge. This caused a bulge on the internal display. Others just had their Galaxy Fold stop working for no rhyme or reason.
Prices will need to drop before the majority of the public considers buying a foldable phone
It has been months since Sammy put the Galaxy Fold in limbo; pre-orders were canceled and funds returned for AT&T and Best Buy customers. Even Samsung's own pre-orders were canceled except for those customers who expressly requested to stay in the queue. Just a few days ago, we showed you a hands-on photo of the redesigned foldable. Samsung reportedly tucked the protective film into the casing so that it cannot be peeled off, and closed the gap on the hinges to prevent unwanted material from entering the phone via this route. Still, Samsung has yet to announce a new pre-order period and a new launch date.
Following the release of the Galaxy Fold, we should see the Huawei Mate X start shipping. Unlike Samsung's phone, which closes inward, the Mate X closes outward and could be released by September. Despite the problems that Sammy had encountered, other manufacturers appear eager to join in the fun. Earlier this month, we passed along a report stating that Sony is working on a foldable using the same type of rollable, retracting display that we told you that Samsung had patented at the beginning of this story. And there is talk that Apple is working on a foldable iPad.
With the hidden screen retracted, the device looks just like any ordinary smartphone
Still, with the Galaxy Fold priced at $1,980 and the Mate X tagged at the equivalent of $2,600, pricing will need to come down dramatically before the average Joe can consider purchasing a phone in this category.