A new Samsung patent awarded by the World Intellectual Property Organization reveals some of the technological tricks the Korean company may use on its upcoming foldable Galaxy phone.
The patent describes a way to use an electrically activated locking mechanism that will “solidify” the physical state of the flexible display.
The flexible display is attached to a solid frame that holds it in place. When folded, the area of the display remains in position, thanks to mechanical actuators that keep the phone shut. When the user starts to open the phone, the mechanism gets automatically unlocked until it reaches its unfolded status.
At that point, the phone detects the state and again locks the mechanism, turning the display into a flat surface that remains stable and solid for operation. That way, people will be able to unfold the screen and start using it without having to worry about the design collapsing.
The diagrams in the patent show this technology being used in a book-like, two-pane configuration, But perhaps the device may end up being triptych, as some rumors and another patent diagram shows.
The Galaxy X, which may end up having a huge 7.3-inch panel when unfolded, is supposed to debut at Samsung’s Developer Conference in November, according to the latest rumors. But that doesn't mean that Samsung will start selling the handset at that time.
More likely, the company will show off the design of the Galaxy X (or Galaxy F, as the name seems to be up in the air) on Nov. 7 so that it can start helping developers optimize their apps for the phone's unique design. The actual release date could be sometime in 2019, though Samsung could decide to launch the phone in limited markets at the end of this year
Do you like the idea of a foldable phone? Sound off in the comments.
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- Jesus Diaz, Freelance Writer
Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.