Samsung might fix one of the worst things about its foldable phones

The next-gen Galaxy Fold design might offer a feature no other Samsung foldable phone has, water and dust resistance.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP/Shutterstock (10438627b) Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy Fold is displayed at Korea Electronics Show in Seoul, South Korea, . Samsung Electronics has predicted its operating profit for the last quarter will fall by more than 56% from a year earlier amid sluggish global demand for computer chips Earns Samsung Electronics, Seoul, South Korea - 08 Oct 2019

The first foldable phone that Samsung decided to launch turned out to be a nightmare for the company.

By Chris Smith

The phone featured a few design choices that proved to be fatal for the display, forcing Samsung to essentially redesign certain aspects of the hinge and screen. Real-life usage showed that debris can get inside the handset with ease and that the screen protector can be forcefully removed. Both of these actions would destroy the fragile foldable screen.

The fixed Galaxy Fold was launched in late September last year, some five months after the intended launch date. Even then, people who have used the handset discovered that debris would still end up inside the phone, despite the fixes. The screen was still prone to scratches, as it wasn’t made of glass.

The Galaxy Z Flip that launched in mid-February was a massive success, compared to the Fold. It was cheaper, better-looking, and featured a foldable display made of ultra-thin glass, a first for the industry. But teardowns found that dust could still get into the phone. Upcoming foldable phones from Samsung might fix all that, and the foldable phones could finally get the water and dust-resistance we’ve come to expect from traditional handsets.

Samsung made a big deal of the fixes it developed for the Z Flip, but dust can still get into the phone. And if dust can get in there, then water ingress is just one accident away. Given that foldable phones are still priced well over traditional flagships, durability improvements are more than welcome for this class of products.

Image Source: LetsGoDigital Galaxy Fold design concept based on Samsung patent illustrations.

Dutch blog LetsGoDigital found a brand new Samsung patent titled Electronic Device including waterproof structure. As you’ll see in the following illustrations, the phone in question looks a lot like the original Galaxy Fold.

The foldable design Samsung used to highlight its innovations features almost the same design as the original Fold. We have a large internal display with a notch on the right side where a dual-lens camera is place.

Illustration from new Samsung patent shows design for a foldable smartphone with a waterproof structure.

One other design change concerns the way the phone folds. The two sides would fold perfectly, without leaving a little gap between them, as it’s the case for the original Fold. This could be an indication the handset would sport a glass display rather than plastic, just like the Z Flip.

Things change on the exterior of the phone, where Samsung has placed a tiny display strip rather than an exterior screen similar to the Fold. The display would show notifications and could let the user answer calls. But you’d have to open the handset for any other type of activity. The multi-lens camera on the back features three cameras, one of which could be a periscope camera.

Image Source: Samsung Illustration from new Samsung patent shows design for a foldable smartphone with a waterproof structure.

This could easily be the Galaxy Fold Lite model that’s rumored to launch this summer for $1,099. The phone will reuse last year’s Fold’s design combined with 2020 hardware, according to rumors. That way, Samsung hopes to get rid of the Fold parts stock it still has on hand. It’s unclear at this time whether the Fold Lite would have a waterproof design, however. Maybe the feature will be reserved for the Fold 2 that’s launching alongside the Galaxy Note 2, or a different handset down the road.

The handset in these illustrations can’t be the Fold 2, however. That phone is supposed to feature a much better screen design, as Samsung is replacing that ugly side-notch with a hole-punch display. Then again, the device in these images might never be made, as Samsung could use whatever illustrations to showcase the technology it wants to patent. More


Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he’s not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.