Samsung working on slider phones that could eventually replace Z Flip series

Expandable phones could be the next big thing

Samsung extendable phone patent
(Image credit: xLeaks7)

Samsung is reportedly working on a phone that could potentially replace its Z Flip range. A patent has been discovered that shows a similarly small handset with a flexible display, but instead of opening like a clam shell, the screen slides up.

We've seen sliding phones before, including the Motorola Rizr, which we went hands-on with at Mobile World Congress last year, but the Samsung device is a little different.

The closed form factor looks like a small square box with the front screen then expanding to form a complete handset.

Samsung extendable phone patent

(Image credit: Samsung via Website Rating)

The patent was spotted by Website Rating in collaboration with online leaker XLeaks7 (and via MySmartPrice). It details how the flexible OLED display can unfurl to create the expanded phone and while it was originally filed in June last year, it has only just been published by the US Patent Office in full.

It follows a similar Samsung patent leak, except from European sources. That time there were a couple of expandable devices cited, with the names Flex Magic and Flex Magic Pixel. The concept is similar though.

The US patent describes a method of unrolling the display (which could also be LCD, not just OLED) that prevents it from cracking. It seems stability and durability are the key signifiers here.

Whether consumers are willing to embrace yet another new form factor before they've really got used to foldable phones is up for debate. It's unlikely we'll see anything on this front for a fair while, though. Patented products can often take many years to come to fruition, if at all.

It may be that the technology detailed ends up being used for something completely different. Either way, it is clear that now we have flexible display technology, companies are looking for multiple use-cases, and we have to applaud that commitment to innovation.

And anything that means we don't necessarily have to carry around a 6.9-inch slab of glass in our pockets is certainly worth a second glance.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.