Dell is well into work on its rumored foldable laptop display, judging by the latest patent (opens in new tab) granted to the company by the US Patent Office. This patent, merely days old at the time of writing, is all about the hinge technology behind this folding display.
The patent comes along with several images detailing the various individual elements of this hinge, which Dell calls the "Information handling system with thin flex." Judging by the name, this thin flex hinge part is designed to both facilitate the foldable nature of the device's display and the transfer of information between parts of the display.
Dell's summary of the patent reads: "An information handling system may include a flex hinge having a first flexible sheet that bends at a different radius than a second flexible sheet when the flex hinge is transitioned from a first position to a second position. A mounting bracket fixes each of the flexible sheets to the information handling system, and a friction linkage engages with slots within the first and second flexible sheets. An organic light emitting diode is connected to the flex hinge."
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Getting ahead of the foldable future of computing
In Dell's mission to drive foldable displays in computing, it has to be incredibly vague as to what it's working on within publicly accessible patent applications. This is why you see language such as "information handling system."
According to Dell, an information handling system can be anything from a full-on computer to a solid-state drive or a processor. Of course, looking at Dell's patent artwork (opens in new tab) clearly reveals the intent to apply this patent to a mobile computer – most likely a laptop – with a foldable display. The very same we've already seen rumored.
Why a foldable display? Dell uses terminology such as "flex sheets" in reference to images of what are clearly displays. It appears that these two flex sheets within the device could support a contiguous display.
"... the flex hinge assembly can support an information handling system with around an eight mm thickness," the patent reads. "While the information handling system is shown with two displays ... the flex hinge assembly can support the information handling system with a single flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED) display that extends across both portions..."
So, yes, Dell is almost certainly working on a foldable laptop display. But, since we're still seeing patent applications release in 2019, we're almost certainly not going to see a finished product until sometime in 2020 or beyond.
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