There have been rumors for years, but Samsung looks like it’s finally getting serious about making a foldable phone.
A device known internally as the Galaxy X recently passed through the Korean Intellectual Property Office. Samsung submitted paperwork to receive a patent on the way in which the phone, referred to as a “flexible electronic device,” would fold.
Trends in the mobile industry are often started by other companies but made mainstream by Samsung. The Galaxy S6 Edge brought visibility to curved edges, and the Galaxy S8 made all-screen fronts popular. If you see a flagship without one or both of those qualities, you probably think less of it. Curved edges and an all-screen front are among the features promoted heavily in Samsung’s advertisements.
Now it could be foldable phones that Samsung takes into the spotlight, possibly in 2018.
The patent filing reveals numerous images of Samsung’s prototype. Its design is comprised of two displays. Between them is a hinge, and one of the flexible displays can be folded over on top of the other. Samsung’s hinge is particularly interesting because it resembles something from a popular laptop. The hinge shown in the patent filing’s images indicate the Galaxy X could have a Surface Book-like hinge. Microsoft’s 2-in-1 laptop uses a fulcrum hinge made of titanium, which has proven to be very strong to hold positions.
It’s possible, too, that Samsung implements displays on both sides of the phone. ZTE announced the Axon M earlier this month with two displays that can be positioned side-by-side and front-to-back. Samsung’s implementation would place the hinge horizontally rather than vertically.
Samsung might launch the Galaxy Note 9 in 2018 with a fold-friendly design. One executive told Bloomberg last month that the technology is in development and is planned to debut next year. The Galaxy X has also appeared in a leak where Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios were tested. If everything is going according to Samsung’s schedule, the technology could be showcased at CES 2018 in January.