There are a growing number of smartphones with foldable displays that let you quickly switch between phone and tablet modes. But Samsung may be considering a different kind of phone that supports as many as four different modes.

A recent patent application shows a phone with a rollable display that can be extended from both the left and right sides of the device’s body to give you more space when you need it. And you get to decide how much space you need.

Samsung / WIPO

According to a diagram included in the patent, the system could support at least four different modes:

  • Processor: A slim design that lets you easily grip the device in one hand so that your fingers wrap around the device, while providing a band of visible space that can be used to show notifications or other important information.
  • Phone mode: Unroll the screens a bit and you get a more traditional phone-sized display and a device that can be held in one hand.
  • Phablet mode: Unroll one side of the screen a bit further and you get extra screen space that can be used for text input or to display more information. You might need to hold the phone in two hands though.
  • Tablet mode: Designed for two-handed operation, this mode extends the screen furthest.

The company’s patent isn’t actually for the technology that makes rollable smartphone displays possible though. Instead, the patent is for a “method of recommending form factor of rollable smartphone.”

In other words, it describes various circumstances in which a phone can react to your environment or the apps and activities that you’re interacting with to determine if and when to automatically switch from one screen size mode to another.

Keep in mind that this is a patent application rather than a real device and it’s unclear if Samsung will ever actually make a rollable phone. But the technology has been around for a little while.

LG had been working on a rollable phone that was almost ready for release. But the project died when the company got out of the smartphone business. And Motorola recently showed off a concept device with a display that rolls upward to extend the amount of screen space available in portrait orientation.

Samsung has also demonstrated that it can make rollable displays. But so far the company has yet to produce anything that’s not branded as a concept.

via @cool_patents and @evleaks

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3 replies on “Samsung’s rollable phone patent supports 4 different screen sizes”

  1. It doesn’t seem right that anyone could patent a “method of recommending” anything.

  2. “Firm grip can be completely neglected while sitting”

    Somehow I don’t think Samsung’s warranty team is going to stand behind that statement.

    1. For 100% retention I duct tape my phone to my forearm. I quickly learned to shave the area. That way I always have my S23 Ultra brick-sized phablet with me wherever I go at all times.

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