As the global market anxiously awaits the release of the first commercial foldable smartphone, Samsung Electronics is seen mulling designs for its first such device, it appears from the latest patent issued to it by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
According to the database of the USPTO on Friday, Samsung won a patent for a new design of a portable electronic device that has a foldable part attached to the main body of the device with a hinge.
The patent was applied for in August 2015.
According to the patent’s image, the attached portion looks like it can be folded in half, back and forth. It has a half-sized display that looks like it could serve as an additional display or expanded part of the main display of the device.
A design of a foldable electronic device by Samsung Electronics (USPTO)
Samsung has been facing technological challenges to commercialize a foldable-display-based smartphone, and the hinge-type foldable device could be a more viable alternative, based on the design.
Samsung also received another patent for a display screen with a transitional graphical user interface on the same day.
Some transitional image and text appear on the screen in the left portion of the device, which can be dismissed by the user.
In the patent, the device appears to have two sides with display screens.
The transitional graphical user interface patent is predicted to improve multitasking functions on Samsung phones like the upcoming Galaxy Note 9, if used for a commercial model.
An image of transitional graphical user interface by Samsung Electronics (USPTO)
“Those patents are some of many that are being filed in order to have as many alternatives as possible when a new phone is actually being developed,” said a Samsung official.
Although the South Korean smartphone giant is making various efforts to develop foldable devices, Samsung may not launch a foldable model this year, as its chief backtracked on previous plans for a launch in 2018.
“We are preparing a lot for a foldable phone, but we will introduce it when it’s technologically perfect, and when consumers are really in need of it,” said Samsung’s smartphone chief Koh Dong-jin at a press conference last month.
By Song Su-hyun (email@example.com