LG may show off one of these new foldable phone designs at IFA 2019

Newly surfaced patents show LG is looking at some absolutely bonkers designs for folding phones, including some relatively “normal” designs, and a bizarre Z-fold design that incorporates three screens and has no ports.

LG’s folding phone has been in the pipeline for some time now, and we thought we had a strong idea of what LG was aiming for — a hitherto unseen clamshell design in which the phone would fold up like an old-style Motorola Razr feature phone. However, these new patents show LG has many other designs in mind. Could one of these be the dual-screen device LG has teased for IFA 2019?

The most recent designs come from LetGoDigital, which shared three potential folding phone designs, labeled as Model A, Model B, and Model C.

lg foldable phone patent designs 2019 model a letsgodigital
Model A Credit: LetsGoDigital

The first design, Model A, shows a Galaxy Fold-like design with a smaller external screen and a larger screen on the inside of the device. Users would open their device to unfold the larger screen. As we’ve seen with the Galaxy Fold, this does increase the chances of a crease developing along the inner screen, but unlike the Fold, the external screen is bezel-less and has no room for a selfie camera. The only cameras on the design are found on the rear, and there’s also no fingerprint scanner — it may well utilize an in-display scanner. It’s also notable that this design features no buttons or ports.

lg foldable phone patent designs 2019 model b letsgodigital
Model B Credit: LetsGoDigital

Model B, shown above, is more akin to Huawei’s Mate X. It consists of a single screen stretched across both sides of the device, and it can be unfolded to create a single large screen. There are no camera lenses when unfolded though, as the camera lenses are hidden beneath the screen, and are revealed when the device is folded — presumably from the screen retracting slightly from the fold. This would also make it near-impossible to use the camera while the device is unfolded — but may also mean the side of the device without the camera lenses would be used as the viewfinder.

lg foldable phone patent designs 2019 model c letsgodigital
Model C Credit: LetsGoDigital

Model C is the oddest looking of the bunch. Like Model A, it contains a large inner screen, but instead has two outer screens — one on the front of the device and one on the back. Quite what advantage this would provide is unclear, and based on the fact the design is the least fleshed-out of the three, it seems this could well be LG covering as many bases as possible.

But there’s also another odd design LG is apparently pursuing, and it adds a third screen to the foldable madness.

Tentatively named the “Z-Fold type” by our friends at LetsGoDigital, this device can be unfolded three times, with a third, smaller screen tucked in neatly behind the central screen. The “Z-Fold” name comes from the shape the phone can make during unfolding, as it unfolds briefly into a Z before unfolding flat. Like some of the previous designs, this patent also shows no charging ports on the device. Wireless-only charging would be an interesting gamble, but it might not be one we’d want to see on an already exciting device. Of the four presented here, this seems to be the least likely to appear. After all, LG’s teaser trailer implies just two screens — but we won’t rule anything out until we’ve seen the device unveiled.

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