It looks like Motorola is the latest company to join the foldable smartphone race. The company has been awarded a patent for a flexible smartphone display.
First reported by Let’s Go Digital, Motorola’s patent shows a smartphone with an OLED display that folds in two places. While OLED displays can be very flexible, frequent bending can cause permanent deformations at the crease.
The patent suggests Motorola will use heat to fight off damage to the OLED display caused by folding and unfolding the display. The company plans to place a heating element in the hinges of its smartphone that will increase the temperature of the display to counteract creasing and other damage caused by repetitive use.
In addition to using heat, the Motorola patent also uses movement to correct screen bend imperfections. The patent explains that the phone will automatically bend slightly in an opposite direction when heating the display to correct creases and other damage at the phone’s hinge points.
Motorola is, by no means, the first smartphone manufacturer rumored to be working on a foldable display. In 2015, rumors surfaced that Samsung was working on a device dubbed “Project Valley.” The project was ultimately scrapped, and images of an early prototype recently surfaced online.
Several major smartphone manufacturers are purportedly working on smartphones with foldable displays. Samsung’s Galaxy X has been the most talked-about device thus far and may be announced in 2019. The phone will likely serve as Samsung’s flagship and may sell for $1,800.
Apple is also reportedly working on a foldable iPhone scheduled for 2020. The handset is rumored to fold out to turn into an iPad, combining two of Apple’s most popular products into one device.
However, it looks like Huawei may beat both Apple and Samsung to the punch. The Chinese smartphone manufacturer is reportedly working on a foldable flagship to be announced later this year.
If Motorola does manage to make a foldable display, it won’t be the first such device to make it to the market. In 2017, ZTE released the Axon M, a bulky and buggy mess featuring two 5.2-inch displays connected by a hinge.
- Google patent shows off a hinged smartphone with selectable displays
- New Apple patent hints clamshell-style foldable phone may be in the works
- Apple patent hints at flexible display that hides speakers, buttons, and more
- Everything we saw at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked 2019 on Feb. 20
- Lenovo patent hints at a future tablet with a folding screen