Is the world of smartphones trending toward foldable screens? It would appear so, as South Korea's LG is exploring an intriguing new form factor based on a new patent.
The patent in question was first filed more than three years ago and has finally been granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office. It covers something called a transparent foldable smartphone and looks nothing like smartphones available today.
Based on information revealed by the Dutch website LetsGoDigital, LG's plan is to create a kind of book-like smartphone that folds all the way down the middle. Based on sketches that were made available along with the patent information, the device is set to have a partially transparent display, which can be adjusted as needed.
Pulling this off would require some pretty clever engineering. To start with, it looks like one half of the device described and illustrated in LG's patent will be transparent while the other half has a distinctly opaque section. The Verge suggests that this could be where the battery is held.
LG Display Division Could Make It Happen
While the idea behind this type of device seems outlandish, The Verge also notes that LG could actually have the chops to build it successfully. After all, they have a pretty capable display division that has rolled out neat demos of next-gen screens in the past.
So far, they have managed to come up with actual transparent displays as well as flexible screens that can be rolled up like paper. Add to the fact that other companies are actively working on such devices as well, and one can surmise that it will only be a matter of time until they arrive.
The Future Is Full Of Obstacles
Meanwhile, BGR is quick to point out that such phones are still not really a sure thing at the moment. And upon closer examination, some aspects of the envisioned device seem to add extra complications.
"LG seems to have also tried to go out of its way to make this design as technically complicated as it can," said Andy Meek, editor at BGR. " As envisioned, for example, this phone would have touch input via both the front and back - in other words, no matter how you hold the phone."
Regardless of whether LG manages to turn this dream of a device into a reality, it will probably garner strange looks when it first comes out. Then in a few years, given positive public reception, might just become the new norm. That's still probably a ways off, but worth keeping in mind for now.