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LG thinks about a phone that unfolds into a tablet

by Justin Herrick | January 19, 2018January 19, 2018 9:00 am EST

Somewhere overseas in a research and development facility, a hybrid mobile device might be in the works by LG. The company filed a patent to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) for a product that merges the form factors of both a phone and a tablet.

The illustrations from the patent filing reveal a phone that unfolds into a tablet, which means it’s also a tablet that folds into a phone. LG submitted the paperwork last summer and the WIPO only published documents earlier this month. Two versions of the hybrid are shown; therefore, LG is far from making any decisions on how exactly this thing will look. So we’re just getting a glimpse at what the future could be like for LG and the mobile industry.

Here’s one of the versions, which has an always-on display available when the body is folded into a phone:

The other version, meanwhile, features a design where part of the rear cover is shifted to expose a transparent section. It could be used for a ticker-style screen, like the V10 and V20 had, to share the time, notifications, and bits of information.

Both versions have a single camera placed on the rear, but one thing to keep in mind is that all dotted lines on these illustrations aren’t part of the “claimed design.” Anything LG would like included with its patent is shown by solid lines. That means the always-on display and ticker-style screen are possibilities, though LG’s implemented those features on other phones and thus doesn’t need to include them here to get the patent.

Fold-friendly hardware is cool, but we’re remaining skeptical as to whether or not it’s truly innovative and capable of going mainstream.

While we’re probably still pretty far away from seeing this type of mobile device announced, it’s a positive sign that LG wants to try something different. LG definitely needs to get consumers excited about its lineup again, that’s for sure. After a few misses and rising competition, the mobile division has struggled to remain relevant. And a rebranded 2018 flagship could be exactly what does the trick.

WIPO The Verge

Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...