Tablets can do things smartphones can't. Folding smartphones can do things normal smartphones can't. So it was only inevitable that someone would make a folding tablet eventually, and a patent shows Samsung's attempts to do just that.
Spotted by LetsGoDigital, this patent shows a double-folding flexible device with two hinges, rather than current devices like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 with only one fold. The patent was filed in the US in late 2020, and was just granted.
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We'd actually heard a rumor that Samsung was working on a product like this, perhaps for a 2022 release, but that's up in the air right now.
In the patent there are various use cases of the tablet shown. Some of these include ways it can fold, like with the two sides of the device folding back behind it to make a smaller screen, or into an S-looking design which would again result in a smaller screen.
We can also see ways that open applications would be split between the screens, as one graphic shows three overlapping windows on the tablet, that get segregated into distinct areas once the screen gets folded.
In fact, various images show layouts for open tabs or apps depending on how the tablet is folded - so, for example, if the tablet is folded slightly at just one crease, resulting in a big and a small screen, a different app can appear in each.
These images make the folding tablet look like a great productivity tool, as you can easily get into a split-screen mode just by flexing the screen. Some of the pictures show the former example with one large display, and a load of controls in the second smaller display, which could be useful for various work types.
In addition, the image of a giant slate folded in two looks a lot like a big, curved gaming monitor, and it could make the tablet excellent for mobile gaming or streaming, as the screen could stand alone without being held.
When we report on patents, we have to mention that patented products don't necessarily turn into real ones, and are instead tests for the tech - that's doubly the case for a folding device, as we see plenty of patents for them that don't materialize.
We'd love to see a cool folding tablet like this though, as it seems it'd be even better for work or play than a normal tablet.
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Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.