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Smartphone Makers Working on Diverse Types of Foldable Phone
Samsung Patents Watch-like Bendable Phone
Smartphone Makers Working on Diverse Types of Foldable Phone
  • By Kim Eun-jin
  • March 15, 2019, 11:05
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A 3D render of a bendable smartphone that Samsung Electronics has patented

As Samsung Electronics ushered in the era of foldable phones by unveiling the Galaxy Fold, global smartphone makers are pushing to develop more advanced foldable phones.

For instance, Samsung Electronics has patented a smartphone that can be worn on the wrist like a watch, and Apple is said to be preparing a foldable phone that can be folded in and out.

In 2018, Samsung Electronics filed a patent application with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for a smartphone technology that could be bended, according to LetsGoDigital, a Dutch online magazine specializing in information technology, on March 13. This patent was disclosed on March 7.

The report says the device can bend in one direction and curl up, allowing users to wear it on their wrist. When the flexible phone is fully unfolded, it shows an elongated display. A magnet is placed at both ends of the bendable smartphone to prevent it from falling off when it is worn on the wrist. Cameras are mounted on the front and back of the smartphone.

In addition, Samsung Electronics is reportedly developing two new foldable phone models – an out-folding model and a smartphone that can be vertically folded.

Apple is expected to release a foldable iPhone this year. Apple is accelerating the development of the foldable iPhone by receiving a flexible display sample from Samsung Display. The display for the foldable iPhone is 7.2 inches, which is 0.1 inch smaller than the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s display (7.3 inches). Apple filed a patent on the foldable phone with the U.S. Patent Office in February. The patent document depicts the foldable iPhone which is not horizontally folded like those of Samsung Electronics and Huawei but is vertically folded. In particular, it can be folded in and out.

As Samsung Electronics and Huawei announced their plans to launch Android operating system (OS)-powered foldable phones and Apple began to develop its foldable phone, the foldable phone market is expected to grow faster than expected by many experts.

As consumers began to be tired of using their bar-type smartphones, if a foldable phone of a reliable brand comes out, it can quickly replace old bar-type smartphones. However, the key is whether smartphone makers will be able to lower the prices of their foldable phones to reasonable levels.

Samsung Electronics and Huawei are trying to lower the price barriers. "We will lower prices of foldable phones to about 1,000 euros in a year or two," CEO Richard Yu of Huawei said in a recent interview with foreign reporters. "I believe that foldable phones will become the mainstream of the smartphone market." Huawei's first foldable phone, the Mate X, costs 2,299 euros (about 2.93 million won).

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