The Samsung Galaxy Fold’s display issues may have meant a future of foldable devices has been postponed for the moment, but that hasn’t stopped Samsung from coming up with plans for another smartphone with a foldable screen. This time, patents have revealed a concept for a Samsung smartphone with a rollable screen. That’s right, the “Galaxy Roll” isn’t just a tasty morsel from a space-themed sushi restaurant — it could be Samsung’s next bizarre device.
The patents, available from the World Intellectual Property Organization, shows a device that’s enormously different from the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Rather than unfolding into a larger, tablet-sized screen, the Galaxy Roll’s screen would extend upwards on rollers, increasing the aspect ratio and creating a much longer screen. When not in use, the extra screen would be stored in the bottom of the device, and would presumably roll up. A side-effect of the rolled screen appears to be a rather unbalanced design, with the bottom of the device being rather thicker than the top. Some have nicknamed this design “The Wedge,” and it’s easy to see why.
It’s hard to imagine what advantages would be offered by having a significantly longer screen. The benefits of a device that folds out into a tablet screen like the Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X are obvious — but it’s hard to imagine a yearning for longer screens. Besides which, we don’t even know if consumers will react positively to folding smartphones, never mind rolling ones.
In Samsung’s defense, the patent for this device was submitted in November 2018, months before the issues with the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s screen became apparent. So it’s worth keeping in mind that plans for more folding smartphones would probably have benefited from the Galaxy Fold’s unexpected postponement and continued development.
However, it’s also worth asking if such a device will ever even see the light of day. Samsung is a massive company with a correspondingly large research and development team, and it’s likely sitting on a number of patented designs for new smartphones, from the plausible to the absurd. This could very well be one of the patents that’s never acted on. The idea of a phone with a rolling screen is possible, but this odd design is probably unlikely to appear again.
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