Samsung Galaxy Z Flip has gone a long way to transforming foldables from a fad into a functional bit of kit. With 8GB of RAM, a 7nm Octa-Core processor and its laptop-style "flex" function, we initially rated it "impressive in our early review. However, the dual 12MP cameras weren't quite as impressive as Samsung's usual flagship fare.
But progress never sleeps, and it looks as though the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip series will be getting another handset – one with a much-improved camera setup.
In January 2020, Samsung filed two patents with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO). Dutch news outlet LetsGoDigital (opens in new tab) reports the patent has been published, and we're able to view the technology in action: a folding phone very similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, sporting both vertical and horizontal three-lens camera arrays. Check it out below:
The horizontal camera array is reminiscent of the old-style Samsung Galaxy S series or the current Note 10. Positioning the three-tiered cameras across is a nice callback to the series' history, in addition to lining up with the external display.
The vertical array. however. seems to come with a larger display. The Z Flip uses its external display while folded in several ways: it displays notifications, time and the phone's essential stats like signal and battery life, but it also acts as a viewfinder when taking selfies while the phone's closed.
In this way, you're able to snap front-facing pics with the higher-quality rear camera array in addition to using the front-facing punch-hole selfie cam. A larger display means more screen space to line up selfies, resulting in better-quality photos.
We're assuming the third lens will be a telephoto, as the 12MP wide and ultra-wide cameras are already in place. It's unlikely to have a depth-sensing Time of Flight lens as the Samsung Galaxy S20 series phones do, or a macro lens: these speciality lenses would seem odd without first catering for more basic all-rounder needs like the telephoto.
The Z Flip already retails at a premium (£1,299), so we imagine the second generation will be just as expensive. However, folding phones are still experimental technology: it's only a matter of time before we see prices come down and more affordable foldables hitting the market. As new, flagship-level handsets arrive, the older models will inevitably drop in value, trickling down into more users' hands and making foldables more than just a fad.