Samsung is ahead of the curve in terms of foldables, having already shipped six (or seven if you include the recalled review unit Galaxy Fold) but the company is clearly wondering how else it can pack more screen into a small package.
A new patent, spotted by 91mobiles may just give us an insight into that. It imagines a smartphone that unfolds and then unrolls to make the unfolded screen even longer. It’s the tech equivalent of a clown producing an improbable number of handkerchiefs from his pocket.
Both foldable and rollable screen technology exists, but the two have seldom been combined. Indeed, rollable tech has purely been seen in concept phones like the LG rollable and Oppo X 2021 so far.
And while combining two new and potentially fragile technologies into one phone sounds like a product for those who like to live dangerously (or with sizable insurance budgets), it’s undoubtedly an interesting way of increasing screen size without wrecking your pockets.
The new form factor suggests you could do some interesting things with it, too. This picture, for example, suggests you could prop the unrolled part of the screen up, letting you make hands-free video calls or watch Netflix on a decently sized display.
It’s just a patent, of course, and patents often aren’t ever realised as a commercially available product. And even if such a phone is ever released you’d better believe it’ll be expensive: probably more expensive than just buying a top-end phone and a big tablet to go alongside it.
But Samsung is aware that convenience — and more importantly ‘wow factor’ — can be way more important than practicality, as this cringey advert the company made a decade ago clearly shows. Coincidently, it includes both foldable and rollable prototypes years before the company got serious in the space…