Samsung may be exploring the possibility of making a foldable smartphone that you can wrap around your wrist. A newly-discovered patent application from the Korean behemoth reveals a foldable display panel that uniquely folds at two points. The implementation of this unique fold mechanism allows the device to be used as a wrist wearable, i. e. a smartwatch.
First spotted by 91Mobiles, the patent application contains schematics showing how the company plans to achieve that. The foldable panel consists of three sections. The middle section is larger and resembles a regular smartphone screen. The other two sections are half its length. They can fold 180-degree to sit behind the main display, allowing you to use it as a smartphone.
When needed, you can unfold the two edges for added screen space. Schematics provided by Samsung show the two display portions at either end serving as controllers while the content is displayed on the large screen in the middle. Of course, this is just one of many use cases of such a product.
But things get more interesting f you check out other schematics supplied by the Korean firm. They show that the middle portion of the display can be curved while the other two portions fold such that their ends meet. Moreover, you can further bend the middle portion so the two smaller sections overlap. These two implementations, particularly the latter, give the device a unique shape that will fit on your wrist. You’ll have a large, smartphone-size display curved around your wrist.
This patent from Samsung also contains some technical information about this unique folding mechanism. We can see references to a controller and a folding sensor unit that allow the foldable display to bend without losing its display properties. You can check out the official schematics below.
Samsung may be looking to push the limits of the foldable smartphone
Samsung has a massive headstart over its rivals in the foldable segment. The company recently launched its fourth-gen foldables, when most others just debuted or are preparing to launch their first-ever foldable device. Of course, other brands can catch up to the Korean behemoth quickly if it doesn’t innovate. To that end, it is working on ways to make foldables more useful with unique designs, including the Flex S OLED dual-foldable panel showcased at Display Week 2022 in May.
Samsung has also patented various other duan and triple folding smartphone designs. This adds to that ever-growing list of design patents. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those will never see the light of day. And we can’t tell if this foldable smartphone-plus-watch will be a rare exception. Even if it is, we are likely years away from it becoming a real product. There’s still plenty of room for improvements on Samsung’s Fold and Flip series foldables.