Right now, the smartphone industry seems focused on producing the best 5G phones and best folding phones it can muster. However, a brand-new patent suggests that some manufacturers are secretly experimenting with the next generation of smartphone form and design.
A good example of this can be found in a recently unearthed patent from tech blog LetsGoDigital (opens in new tab), which has discovered a very intriguing design patented by Samsung Electronics with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) last November.
The patent, which wasn't published until June 6, 2019, shows a smartphone with a unique extendable screen design that can be easily operated with just one hand.
In its unextended form, the handset appears to have a modest 5-inch tall display, however when the phone is transitioned into its extended form, it jumps to an elongated 21:9 aspect ratio screen that appears to be over twice as big. The resultant display is like a turbo-charged, enlarged version of what is installed on the Sony Xperia 1.
As noted in the original report, in its extended form the phone offers users "no less than 60%" more screen real estate than when its unextended form. In addition, "the sliding system mechanism can be implemented manually, semi-automatically or automatically," with a button on the side of the device controlling its movement.
To ensure that the screen transitions smoothly between the two forms, a pair of small rollers are embedded within the phone's casing, while to ensure the extended part of the screen remains damage free when not in use, it is hidden in there, too.
Now, while we can definitely see the rational for investigating such a design, as smartphone screens have now got so big that one-hand use has really been pushed to its comfortable maximum (think devices like the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max and 6.4-inch Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus), here at T3 it's hard not to think that foldable screen technology is really the way forward in addressing this issue.
Slide-up tech isn't new, either, both in terms of screens and camera systems (see the Samsung A80 video above), and while the engineering depicted in this patent looks neat, it doesn't lead to the most sleek or aesthetically pleasing device, with the phone's fat, roller-filled bottom and prominent bezel-tastic forehead giving it a dated look,
We think it hard to see Samsung releasing this device, however, it is interesting to see how this design explores the sliding screen concept and it has only whetted our appetite more for getting our hands on the Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold for 'extended' testing and full reviews.