This Samsung Rollable Phone Makes Much More Sense than the Foldable
A recently uncovered Samsung patent suggests that the company is looking beyond the yet-to-be-released Galaxy Fold device in an effort to flex its flexible display prowess. Dutch tech blog LetsGoDigital dug up the patent and then cooked up some renders of the device based on the patent, which show a smartphone-shaped device that can extend sideways into a full-blown tablet.
Obviously, no sizes or dimensions are readily available, but from the looks of the device—and knowing what Samsung is actively working on at the moment with the Galaxy Fold—this rollable phone looks to be about the size of a Galaxy S10 when rolled up, and maybe a seven-inch tablet, give or take, when unrolled.
The way the device seems to work, the user would be able to pull the right edge of the display, exposing a rolled up OLED that’s tucked underneath the left edge of the device. In all honesty, if the renders are anywhere close to how the Galaxy Roll (heard it here first) ends up looking, this is a much better take on flexible OLED devices than what we’ve seen to date. The normal display, when closed up, can still fill up the entire front of the device, still resembling a normal, non-gimmicky smartphone. It’s not until you unroll the display and open up that tablet that you realize it’s a much different kind of device.
And, the thing is, this is a technology that Samsung has already shown off in a way. At SID 2016, Samsung had a prototype rollable display on hand. The product wasn’t displaying a smartphone interface, instead rolling some sort of stock footage. But the way in which it’s unrolled seems to match what was uncovered in the patent filing.
In a unique sort of way, this is a technology that has been implemented elsewhere. Just this past January at CES 2019, we saw LG’s OLED R TV (R for rollable), where the company engineered a flexible display TV that rolled itself right up into a rectangular base. The Samsung patent suggests that the company will look to take a similar display approach but scaled down to a personal device.
Though I’m struggling at the moment to truly figure out why this is the case, I find this implementation of flexible displays to be much more satisfying and appealing than the foldable phone. Mainly, I think it has to do with the fact that the phone can still look like a smartphone—not two devices stacked on top of one another. We want our smartphones to do more than they currently do, but we don’t want them to look and feel too terribly different either. The rollable display could be the answer we’ve been searching for.
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