Sci-tech

Google Foldable Phone Patent Surfaces Online; See Details

Google Foldable Phone Patent Surfaces Online; See Details

Foldable phones are certainly the talk of the town this year.

The folks at Patently Mobile have discovered a patent application from Google for a foldable smartphone - the flip phone variety.

Google this year is expected to launch a the Pixel 3 Lite (or Pixel 3a) series of affordable devices, as well as the Pixel 4 flagships, but there's no indication that a foldable phone might be in the works. Apart from an overview, the leaked patent images don't reveal much about Google's first foldable smartphone. And we do know from Samsung that Google was involved in creating the new Android experience for the Galaxy Fold foldable.

Google’s foldable patent hints at a compact clamshell phone

"Hence it is also likely that Google licences the foldable screen out to a third-party rather than producing it by itself". We've already seen devices from companies like Samsung and Huawei, and teasers from Xiaomi and Oppo.

Neither of the designs in the patent shows any revolutionary new form of flexible screen that other companies haven't considered, but it's interesting that there's no sign of a "notebook"-type foldable like the Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X". The Galaxy Fold was unveiled in two stages, in early November and mid-March, while the Huawei Mate X was announced at MWC a few days after the Fold. A World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) patent gives us a hint on what to expect from Google's foldable smartphone. Even MIUI, the user interface of the company based on Android could immediately undergo an ad hoc restyling in order to make the most of the versatility of the foldable display.

Further, Google is rumored to have asked those with roles in its tablet and laptop division to find other positions in the company, suggesting hardware development is being deprioritized, or that there won't pursue as many hardware lines in the future. The patent suggests that Google would not go for off-the-shelf parts, and it'll have particular requirements from display makers.

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