Samsung is yet to officially release the fixed version of its foldable Galaxy Fold smartphone. But, the company seems to be already working on its future. The Korean consumer electronics giant has received a patent that expands a phone into a tablet. The patent granted last month shows a phone that adds additional screen real estate to transform into a tablet. However, it seems that we are at least a few years away from such a device reaching the market.

Samsung Display Device: All you need to know

Smartphone makers are looking for ways to offer additional screen space without changing the basic form factor. The foldable smartphone design was widely seen as the first step in that evolution. However, the Galaxy Fold failure and Huawei Mate X delay has forced the industry to rethink their decision. Now, the patent received by Samsung shows that the company has its plans ready for years ahead. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has just published additional details of this design.

The patent, first spotted by LetsGoDigital, shows a phone that can be pulled from each side. The process adds more screen real estate, transforming the phone into a tablet. The report states that the design can add up to three times the size of display when it is in the form of a phone. The whole design relies on a motorized “rolling mechanism” to release additional screen. The mechanism also aids in rolling back the additional display into the phone.

Photo: LetsGoDigital

Samsung intends the frame edges be used as a grip and the flexible screen moves on rails for support. When the device is closed, the extra screen folds into a slot. They seem to come together for a more solid and sturdy form factor. The patent is titled “Display Device” and the implementation is the wildest idea yet. Samsung showed off a prototype roll-able display similar to this design back in 2016. It had a 5.7-inch display when fully extended and the prototype display alone was 0.3mm thick.

Samsung Galaxy Fold Dilemma

Samsung’s biggest struggle with the Galaxy Fold has been the display. The flexible plastic OLED display used on Fold did not hold even for a week. The early reviewers pulled a protective screen which immediately damaged the display. Then there were also reports of debris entering the screen and damaging it. In order to make a functional device like one shown in this patent, Samsung needs a display first. While it is the leader in flexible OLED panels, it would need superior protective solution as well. Also, it would need to figure out a way to mass produce such a display design.

The big question surrounding the patent is how can Samsung turn into into a real device. Since it is a display device, we are not seeing additional components and battery. Addition of those elements could make the device too thick and impractical to carry around. One can only hope that Samsung fixes the issues because who wouldn’t like to won a phone that can transform into a tablet.