Samsung may soon expand the definition of a 2-in-1 device. Spotted by SamMobile, a new patent from the company shows a tablet that can be folded into a smartphone. According to a report from South Korean website Daum, the tablet, which is expected to have an eight to nine inch full HD OLED display, can be folded twice to convert into a smartphone.
Based on the illustrations of the device, it appears to have three separate displays that can unfurl into the size of a tablet. The process can be reversed to change the device into a smartphone. According to the patent, turning the device into a smartphone requires the same folding action as a tri-fold wallet.
The new patent may be connected with Samsung’s recent breakthrough with graphene, which is being touted as a wonder material that makes truly bendable mobile devices possible. Graphene is a durable, ultra-thin material that has high heat conductibility. It offers a hundred times greater electron mobility than silicon, making it a possible replacement for one of the most widely used materials for semiconductors.
Last April, Samsung announced that it discovered a new way of growing large area, single crystal wafer scale graphene. This new process makes it possible to hasten the commercialization of the material. A month later, Samsung announced the development a new transistor structure for graphene, too. With these two discoveries, the company claims to have solved the biggest problems faced by manufacturers who want to replace silicon with graphene in semiconductors.
There’s no official word on whether the tablet/phone hybrids are actually in development. However, the Daum report predicts that Samsung’s first foldable tablets may be launched in 2015.