Current foldable smartphone designs are either about folding a regular phone display into half or unfolding a phone to turn it into a tablet (a mini tablet, to be more precise). Samsung sells phones with both form factors and leads the foldable market right now, and the company has also shown off dual-folding and slideable/rollable concepts that many would love to get their hands on.
But what good would a dual-folding device or a slideable device be? Well, when it comes to the latter, a Samsung patent filed in 2022 can give you an idea. Discovered by our friends at GalaxyClub, the patent shows how a slideable phone could have at least four different modes depending on the use case.
A slideable phone could offer the convenience that a Galaxy Z Fold doesn't
This device would, by default, have the narrow profile of a Galaxy Z Fold. This would be what Samsung calls Band mode, which would be useful for situations where easy one-handed operation is necessary, such as crowded places outdoors. But unlike a Galaxy Z Fold, this device would also have a Phone mode, which would be the second mode and one that emulates a regular candybar phone.
Then there's the Phablet mode, in which the display slides out on one side, but not all the way through. Think a Galaxy Note-like form factory but one that is a little wider. And the final one, where the display slides out completely, would turn the device into a full-fledged tablet.
The patent also describes how the device would be able to auto detect the situation and tip users on what the ideal form factor for each situation would be. The nitty-gritty of such a system is not something we can go into here, although the flowchart below should give you a basic idea.
When – if ever – will we see a commercial device from Samsung that uses a slideable display? Well, there really is no way to answer that. Even regular foldable smartphones are still considered experimental by many, and Samsung is likely to spend the next few years perfecting those instead of introducing even more experimental concepts, like a slideable device, to the general public.
But we can rest assured that such devices will eventually enter the mainstream market, even if takes a few years, as smartphone manufacturers will keep innovating to attract new and old customers alike. And naturally, we can Samsung to be at the forefront thanks to its rich history in the field.