Samsung's folding phone patent is not the future we want

Samsung flexible screen

There's every chance that smartphones of the future will have folding screens. The tech has been under development for a long time and we're already seeing curved displays on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, so it seems like it will only be a matter of time, but when it does arrive we hope it looks nothing like it does in this Samsung patent.

Unearthed by Patently Mobile, the design shows a phone which when unfolded looks like any other Samsung handset, complete with rounded corners, an oblong home button and a camera jutting out the back.

But there's a fold in the middle, which allows you to fold the screen in on itself and turn it into a shorter, chunkier shape. This could make it easier to fit in pockets, but all you're really trading is length for thickness,

Flexible failings

Samsung patent

And unlike some folding concepts, which always give you access to the screen and just make it bigger or smaller depending on whether it's folded, this Samsung one cuts the screen off altogether when it's closed, leaving you with a useless and likely very expensive lump.

In another bizarre twist the charging port lives on the joint, so you can only charge the phone when it's folded shut, meaning you can't both charge the device and use it at the same time.

It reminds us of a recent Oppo flip phone prototype, except it's even worse, as that you can at least charge while using. We're all for folding phones and even the return of flip phones, but not like this.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.