Lenovo patent shows how it plans to make foldable PC screens durable

What you need to know

  • A newly discovered Lenovo patent describes how the company plans to make delicate displays more durable on future folding PCs.
  • The durability of folding displays is of particular interest after Samsung's Galaxy Fold encountered issues with breaking displays, leading to a delayed launch.
  • The patent comes after Lenovo recently unveiled an impressive prototype foldable PC called the ThinkPad X1.

Folding screens are largely viewed as the next big frontier for both smartphones and PCs, but there are lingering concerns about the durability of folding displays after the delayed launch of Samsung's Galaxy fold, which encountered issues with failing displays. Lenovo, hot on the heels of revealing its folding ThinkPad X1 prototype, appears to have a plan to make sure its folding displays remain durable – at least according to a newly surfaced patent spotted by Windows United.

The patent describes using a second, supportive panel made of different substances to act as a sort of "cushion" underneath the delicate folding display. With the added support, Lenovo says that the extra panel can act "like a trampoline" to absorb shocks to the display. From the patent description:

By the use of the attachment pieces and the attachment portions, the support plate is attached and fixed in a support state like a trampoline in which the outer peripheral edge portion thereof is held on the inner surface sides of the chassis members 12A and 12B. Thus, the support plate is supported with a cushion structure in upper portions of the chassis members 12A and 12B. In the case of this embodiment, since the display is a thin flexible display and the surface cannot be protected with a hard glass plate or the like, the display also has a problem of low impact resistance. Then, by supporting the support plate with the cushion structure, impact or a load caused by a substance falling on the display or falling of the portable information device can be absorbed.

Laptops with dual-displays are already on the market, so it's inevitable that folding displays will eventually make their way as well. If solutions like that described in Lenovo's patent can be successfully implemented, they could go a long way toward alleviating worries about durability.

While folding displays are still very much in their early stages, Lenovo is already off to an impressive start with the ThinkPad X1 prototype. For more, check out our complete hands-on with the ThinkPad X1.

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