We’ll just start by saying that, in case it isn’t apparent, this design cannot be considered a serious indication of an actual product that is on its way. Companies the likes of Samsung tend to patent a lot of things. Many of those patents don’t actually lead to actual products, and that’s just part of the reason the vast majority of such filings just fly under the radar. WO2021251775 submitted to the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) on 10.06.2021 and posted openly online on 16.12.2021 is just too intriguing to pass up, though.
Titled “ELECTRONIC DEVICE CAPABLE OF FOLDING AND SLIDING OPERATIONS”, the patent describes a device that seemingly goes out of its way to bend a foldable display in every possible way. First, there is the rollable aspect. That’s straightforward enough conceptually, though not really something we’ve seen on something other than prototypes quite yet. The idea is that you grab and pull one end of the display and a portion of the body underneath it that acts like a handle and then pull out more of the same display panel that was previously rolled up inside the body of the device. A bigger display, instantly when you need it and stored away neatly when you don’t. Simple enough as a concept but devilishly hard to pull off for a number of mechanical and structural reasons.
Perhaps the more interesting and perplexing bit of the design, however, is the way in which the display can fold. It looks like a portion of the panel opposite the rolling mechanism has been “segmented off” in a sense with a hinge underneath.
The hinge appears to be capable of sliding along with the rest of the display assembly as you roll it in or out of the body and uses a total of four rollers. A design quite similar to that on current Samsung foldables. This allows that portion of the display to be angled up and away from the body of the phone.
We assume the hinge is torsion-based, just like current foldables use, which would allow freedom when it comes to angle adjustment. Though, it should be noted that the design does not appear to include the ability to close the display fully, with or without an air gap on top of itself. What you can seemingly do is have the angled display bit be further in or out, depending on how far you have rolled the other part of the display.
The actual utility of such a form factor is probably the biggest question mark here. The rollable display bit is easy to grasp and understand. But why would you throw an angle-adjustable bit on top of that? Feel free to leave any interesting ideas you might have on the matter in the comments.