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Samsung patents show improved Galaxy Fold and possible tablet version

Credit: LetsGoDigital

Patent-trawler LetsGoDigital has discovered a new set of Samsung patents that show off two new designs for foldable phones. Could one of these designs be our first look at the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2? And could we see an updated Fold next week at IFA 2019?

It’s no secret Samsung is investing heavily in a foldable future. While the Galaxy Fold still hasn’t been re-released, we’ve already seen a number of patents for follow-up foldable phones, including a Z-fold phone and a phone with a bizarre rolling display. Well, Samsung has parked the weird and the wonderful for a little bit, as the latest two Samsung patents show more conservative designs for foldable phones.

The two designs share a lot of similarities, and the chief distinctions between the two lie mostly in the positioning of the device’s hinge — one folds vertically, while the other folds horizontally. The first design, named Model A by LetsGoDigital, reminds us heavily of the Nintendo DS’s upper screen. The outer screen has a fairly squat aspect ratio that favors being held horizontally. A selfie lens sits at the top-left of the screen, while the fold sits below. A triple-lens camera system sits on the back. When folded, this design is far wider than we’d expect for a current smartphone, and it looks more like an old-fashioned PDA.

Credit: LetsGoDigital

The second design, models B and C, is more familiar, sharing more than a few design ideas with the current Galaxy Fold. The outer screen is longer and thinner, and would sit more easily in a single hand when compared to the first design. The selfie lens sits above the display, while the back has another triple-lens setup. When unfolded, the inner selfie lenses sit in a notch to one side of the display — though Samsung is clearly unsure which side to place these lenses on.

These designs are much more conservative than some of the previous designs we’ve seen, and are probably more immediately attainable for Samsung. As such, we would expect to see Samsung’s next foldable device follow these designs, rather than the Z-fold or rolling display patents. However, the odd design of Model A makes us think that patent isn’t intended for a smartphone. With a squatter design that’s clearly meant to be held horizontally, could this be Samsung playing with the idea of a Samsung Galaxy Tab Fold? A tablet is more often held in a landscape orientation, and it would make far more sense if Model A was intended for a tablet.

We can only wait and see, but we’re excited.

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