Samsung may have patented a few foldable phone formats, but they focused less on the classic book format. For example I haven’t seen lately a “book type” foldable from them or one that looks like the Microsoft Surface Duo. That exact format hit the web today, as Samsung patented a dual display machine, that challenges the Surface Duo.
Samsung is hard at work on the Galaxy Fold 2, which judging by the latest leaks should end up as a vertical foldable, a clamshell of sorts. It actually feels more like the MOTO RAZR 2019 and less like the first Galaxy Fold. Now we see patent sketches, which show a device that opens and closes like a book. It also seems to have two notches, or two cutouts for the earpiece. There’s still a lot of time left till Q4 2020, when the Surface Duo is out, so we may see more such “book format” devices.
Interestingly, this patent had an interesting life. It dates from back in 2013, so maybe that’s why it feels like an older Samsung phone. Parts of the documents are as old as 2011 and if Samsung decides to bank on this, they may as well sue Microsoft for the Surface Duo. Microsoft’s patents are more generic and cover folding tablets and phones, but it only came up in 2017. Samsung’s patent is more specific, focused on a “device comprising a touchscreen display and method for controlling same”.
It’s been a while since we last saw a patent battle and Samsung didn’t seem particularly aggressive lately. Also, under Satya Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft settled most of its patent battles quietly, even the Android royalties one. And don’t get me started on Apple’s foldables, since they can come out of nowhere with a patent pre-dating the Samsung one. I for one would like to see less design and hardware talk and more UI talk, since we need something different now in the world of foldables.