Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and Huawei’s Mate X devices made folding phones a reality, even though they’re not on the market yet. But those devices also revealed manufacturers have many options when it comes to how the display folds.
However, both Samsung and Huawei went devices that unfold horizontally. According to a Lenovo patent uncovered by LetsGoDigital, the Chinese manufacturer has some ideas about how to make a vertical folding phone.
The patent, filed with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) in September 2018, shows a large smartphone with a hinge about two-thirds of the way down the phone.
The hinge enables the bottom third of the screen to fold up, covering most of the top two-thirds. This would leave part of the display free for the user to interact with, even though the phone is closed.
Further, the Lenovo patent imagines placing a second display on the rear of the phone so that, when folded, users have access to it.
Finally, the patent illustrates a large hinge that can flex in different spots, allowing the user to fold the device in different ways, exposing more or less of the inside screen for use when closed.
While certainly an interesting design, I’m not sold on the efficacy of the flexible hinge that would allow for an adjustable fold. The device would need a locking mechanism to keep it open or closed. Having a hinge that can fold in different positions would require more locking mechanisms to work.
In other words, it’s not an impossible design, but one I don’t think we’ll see on the market for a while.
LetsGoDigital also created several concept renders based on the patent, so you can take a look at those to get a better idea of how the Lenovo folding phone would work.