Back in June of this year Bloomberg posted a report stating that Samsung had two new smartphone designs on tap under a project code-named 'Project Valley.' This project could finally introduce foldable smartphones that are like a small notebook to market in 2017. Of course this isn't news to Patently Mobile, as our utility patent archive illustrates many of Samsung's concepts as well as their design patents. Bloomberg claimed at the time that someone familiar with the project said it could debut as soon as late February at the Mobile World Congress smartphone event in Barcelona next year. You could see the Bloomberg video here.
To get a glimpse of what a bendable or foldable display could possibly look like in the real-world as opposed to flat patent illustrations found in our report, see the video below from a South Korean trade show earlier this year.
In the last month or so two new foldable Samsung smartphone patents have been published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The first design illustrated below, in a collection of three patent figures, we're clearly able to see a foldable smartphone that's based on a single foldable display.
Samsung's Patent figures 3 and 5B noted above are side views of this smartphone design in the process of folding. In these illustrations it's made clear that in this particular model the flexible display actually buckles in a loop in a very precise manner in the middle and not actually fold so as to avoid destroying the display over time.
When folded, Samsung shows that there are two locking mechanisms that will click when folded over and could unlock with a touch control. In Samsung's patent FIG. 6 you see a close-up in #109 of flex construction that Samsung has covered in previous patents here and here. A close-up of the flex joint could be seen below in patent FIG. 7.
Samsung filed their U.S. patent application back in Q1 2016. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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