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Lenovo patent shows off another foldable display concept

Lenovo Folding Patent

Folding displays appear to be the next big thing in mobile devices, with Microsoft's rumored Andromeda device and Samsung's forthcoming Galaxy X phone sucking up most of the hype. Other manufacturers, however, are planning to get in on the game as well, and a newly spotted patent filed by Lenovo may give us a hint at things to come.

Initially discovered by Windows Latest, the patent was filed in December of 2017 and published in July of 2018. It shows off a potential design for a foldable device that can be used as a large-screened tablet or folded into a more pocketable form with the aid of a hinge running across its rear.

From the patent's abstract:

A portable information device is capable of securing the appearance quality and the durability of products while having a foldable configuration. The portable information device has a backbone member provided throughout and between the inner surface of one edge portion of a first chassis member and the inner surface of one edge portion of a second chassis member so as to cover a gap between the one edge portion of the first chassis member and the one edge portion of the second chassis member connected by a hinge mechanism.

Lenovo Folding Patent

As this is only a patent, it's worth noting there's a probability that it could never see the light of day in a shipping product. Many ideas make it to the patent stage without making their way, at least as shown, in consumer products.

Still, there's no doubt that the market is bound to see an influx of foldable devices in the coming years. Whether Microsoft's own Andromeda unicorn will be a part of that rollout remains to be seen, but Lenovo, it appears, is at least preparing to experiment with its own products.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

8 Comments
  • Lenovo getting into the game of more pie in the sky
  • How many companies actually come up with their own designs these days? Either stolen by way of $$$ or hacks. Being first or close to first doesn't matter to me!
  • Hmm this one might be interesting. After all Lenovo invented the Yoga hinge, if they combine their good hinge design with a good foldable display we may actually get a good product, something that when folded is a laptop with a touch keyboard (like the Yoga Book) and when flat open is a big tablet. I wonder if there is already a software able to power such a device, but I am looking forward to that.
  • All foldable concepts I have seen so far (except the LG rollable TV) have two things in common: A wobbly screen (because nothing fixes it in place at the fold) and a display that is not flat anymore (because as anyone knows, the outside of a circle is larger than the inside, so in order to roll a flat display you have to either put stress on the outside or relieve the inside of it). It also leads to problems with ease of use and durability. You can put it in a protective hull when it is folded, but then you spend much more time getting it ready to use. Or you can just accept that dust and sand will come between the two sides of the display and scratch it. As long as rigid displays have such severe advantages foldables will have a hard time. I think the future of foldables lies in not folding them. Imagine a device that is borderless and magnetic. You can attach a second device to either side and it will automatically enlarge the screen. You can stack them to get great protection.
  • I concur. And if anyone wants to see the concept (and use cases) of attachable full-screen devices just watch Westworld :)
  • The idea of an fold-able screen sounds good with the promises of larger screen estate in a small form factor. There is a lot of challenges but one of most problematic is that to have the device to feel solid enough when folded out the unfolded device risk of being both thick and cumbersome. Then there is also the challenge of either having a bendable plastic and not completely flat screen or getting a seam from having two screens put together.
    So far I see that the down sides are bigger than the upsides. Maybe we will see really innovative solutions to the issues soon or maybe the fold-able device will be forgotten by next year and sitting on the shelf of good but not practical ideas together with 3D phones.
  • Hopefully Lenovo can do what MS seems incapable of doing.
  • OMG APPLES ALREADY WON GIVE UP ^ sarcasm