Foldable phones: Samsung’s New Concept Is Better Than The Galaxy X

The patent details how a rollable OLED display will have to be sandwiched by several substrates to protect the durability of the panel, as is the case with any smartphone screen, from dust and moisture.

Foldable phones: Samsung's New Concept Is Better Than The Galaxy X
Foldable phones: Samsung's New Concept Is Better Than The Galaxy X

Samsung could be planning to update its upcoming foldable phone lineup with a new concept, according to a recently filed patent.

The proposed device, spotted by Patently Mobile, has a display that rolls up like a piece of paper into a cylindrical housing unit. With the screen being withdrawn and retracted when necessary.

The patent details how a rollable OLED display will have to be sandwiched by several substrates to protect the durability of the panel, as is the case with any smartphone screen, from dust and moisture.

The design challenge, though, is making sure the complete display survives being rolled out multiple times without breaking or being damaged beyond use. This is a problem for all foldable phones, but more so this concept because every aspect of the display is consistently flexed.

A Qualcomm executive earlier this year speculated that foldable display technology isn’t quite ready for the prime time because flexible screens can only be stretched so many times. We’ll see how correct that prediction is when Samsung releases its Galaxy F next year, but if accurate, that will be more of a problem for a rollable device.

In the same way lithium ion batteries have roughly 1000 optimal charges before the amount of charge they can hold begins to deplete (and therefore puts a timestamp on a smartphone) flexible displays could also have a natural shelf life. Considering the rumoured price for Samsung’s Galaxy F, that’s not good for consumers or the planet.

Whether Samsung has “cracked the material science” – as the Qualcomm executive put it – or not, a tube-like foldable device is the best possible form factor for this technology. It’s also in the spirit of a true foldable phone. The slightly too thick Galaxy F that Samsung demoed last month doesn’t really satisfy Samsung’s obsession with miniaturising everything. A phone that transforms out of a device shaped like a packet of Mentos, however, does. More

By Jay McGregor