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Google jumps on the foldable phone bandwagon, files patent

16 March 2019

The patent, first spotted by Patently Mobile, suggests that the company might be working on a folding phone with a single screen.

As well as a clamshell-style unit (Fig.2), we also see what looks like a Z-folding approach (Fig.3), and possibly what taking a selfie or video calling may look like on the unit (the first image).

Google's patent application included several sketches of a potential foldable device.

Google’s foldable patent hints at a compact clamshell phone
Is Google building a foldable Pixel phone?

Titled Foldable display neutral axis management with thin, high modulus layers, the application was submitted with WIPO last June and published in mid-December. However, Google is also looking at the possibility of folding a display around two hinges, that would give the device a "Z-fold" aspect.

But boy is that a big if. Its Pixel phones are no doubt safe, but the Pixelbook series, and perhaps new prospects like a Google foldable, may not survive the restructure.

The patent does not mention the word "phone" even once, instead it refers to how the display could be used by "modern computing devices" which could refer to tablets or laptops, The Verge reported on Thursday.

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Samsung's Galaxy Fold made a splash at Unpacked in February. For a foldable Pixel phone, Google would have to order screens from Samsung, LG, and other display makers that can make foldable/flexible OLED panels.

It should come as no surprise that Google is diving deep into gaming.

Are these 5G phones the future of mobiles? Its Pixel phones have been slow to adopt multiple cameras and to shrink their bezels, unlike its major competitors.

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It can be hard to create foldable top-emitting plastic OLED displays that have a small folding radius in both directions (i.e., having two surfaces of the display fold both towards each other and away from each other) and that can survive many fold-unfold cycles.

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Google jumps on the foldable phone bandwagon, files patent