Samsung has been dominating talk about a folding smartphone with the Samsung Galaxy X, but LG just published the patent for a folding phone that turns into a tablet. The patent was first filed back in July 2017 but was just published on Jan. 12.
The patent shows two versions of the phone.
Screens have been getting larger and larger with almost every single smartphone maker offering a larger version of available models. This new breakthrough could allow for a larger screen without having to make a larger phone. LG's patent for the new phone was filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization.
The patent describes the model as "a mobile phone with a flexible display which can be folded in half."
Two different models of the phone were registered in the patent. The first model has a camera on the back portion of the phone and can show information such as the time on the front screen. The second, different model of the phone also has a camera, it lacks a front screen. Instead, it opts for a small uncovered part of the front panel that can display notifications and the time.
LG hasn't announced any plans to release a folding phone yet. A lot of hype has been thrown in Samsung's direction because it previously announced plans to release a folding phone this year.
Folding phones have been rumored for years, patents have been filed, but there still hasn't been any release by any of the smartphone makers. Concept devices have been shown that are capable of the ability but it hasn't materialized into consumer products.
Korean media speculated that Samsung would be releasing a folding phone last year but it proved to be just speculation, nothing came from the company. Samsung has been working on a folding smartphone since 2011.
Curved screens have been seen as a step in the right direction for folding screens. The technology still hasn't been able to catch up on ideas that are being produced. Problems with folding screens arise when trying to protect the internal components of the phone. A Samsung patent for a folding phone shows that the company came up with an "artificial muscle" that would move with the bending screen.
While Apple has been mum — just releasing its iPhone X at the end of last year — the company filed a patent in the United States that describes research into electronic devices with flexible display screens. That patent covers laptops, tablets, phones, smartwatches, or any other electronic device.