Will the Next Smartphones Fold in Half?

This could be a game changer from Samsung.

Imagine a world without a round-the-clock fear of shattering your phone’s exposed touchscreen. Imagine no longer fretting that the outline of your clunky protective case makes you look like you’re hiding a massive erection. Is that a Griffin Survivor in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

Well, such a world may be nigh, as Samsung — the maker of at least one Maxim editor’s favorite smartphone ever — is likely devising a foldable smartphone. This would mean that you’d get all the perks of a touchscreen while being able to close the thing for safekeeping…just like in the good ol’ days. The folks at Patently Mobile recently unearthed a U.S. patent filed last year by Samsung that describes a smartphone that includes a spring hinge in the middle so that it can be opened and closed much like your erstwhile flip phone. The patent comes with proposed renderings of the could-be device, which show it in what looks to be mesh-like metal casing.

Photo from Patently Mobile

Potent rumors of such a phone have been circulating through cyberspace for a few years now. Back in 2013, bloggers reported of a similar patent filed by Samsung in South Korea. And Samsung teased a similar innovation (a phone that unfolds into a tablet) in a presentation at the CES keynote that same year. You can watch it here. 

Then in 2014, Lee Chang-Hoon, Vice President of the business strategic team at Samsung Display, further substantiated the rumors when he promised that Samsung would offer foldable displays by the end of 2015. Tech blog Sammobile is even reporting the phone could be announced in January.

Still no word on whether or not it will be offered in “rose gold“…

Photos by Getty Images