Sharp is not a smartphone brand that makes the news frequently. Its phones are mostly sold in Japan with some models making an appearance in Europe as well but in fairly small numbers.
This is probably no one is expecting them to have a go at the latest trend in mobile tech: foldable smartphones. By now, you’re probably familiar with the Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X, the two phones of that new class that you’re most likely to see in the real world (if you’re lucky). We’ve also seen hints that Motorola and Google are working on their own interpretations as well.
Coming from patents yet again is information about Sharp’s intentions for a foldable phone. Picked up by LetsGoDigital and visualized in renders are drawings from an application to WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office) that was submitted by the Japanese tech giant.
The design proposed by Sharp has some familiar elements with a twist. The fold of the display is horizontal, similar to that of the rumored Motorola phone, which means the screen size will be similar to current flagship phones, but the device will be more compact when folded. That approach has its advantages, but it seems that users have now accepted the form factor of current phones and prefer to get a larger display if their device is to be foldable.
There are two things that grab our attention when looking at these renders. First, there seems to be no gap when the device is folded, which is something current foldable displays can’t accomplish. Of course, devices in renders are often quite different from real products, so it’s too early to judge. Sharp is one of the major display manufacturers, however, and it’s possible that the company is working on its own tech to achieve those results.
The other curious thing is that the device has two hinges about half an inch apart, which allows the lower panel to either completely cover the top one or to leave about an inch of the display clear for notifications and other system indicators. While that might be handy in some situations, the added hinge is also another weak point for this device.
There also appears to be no selfie camera in the drawings Sharp submitted, but this is likely just another omission until the design reaches a stage closer to realization. More