Foldable smartphones have been patented, demoed, and scrapped more times than any of us can count over the years. Maybe foldable phones aren't the future—maybe the future is going to be about expandable phones. Samsung has filed a patent for a smartphone display that expands when you pull on the sides. It's like carrying a smartphone and a tablet at the same time.
According to the patent, this system actually consists of three panels. The main display (DA1 in the above diagram) is all you can see in "phone mode." To get a wider screen, you'd just grab the left and right sides of the phone and pull outward. This action unrolls two more display segments (DA2 and DA3) that sit on either side of the main display. You end up with a much larger display area for watching videos or running multiple apps.
When not in use, the secondary display panels are hidden inside the body of the body of the device. This is just a patent application, so we don't know how such a phone would really work. Cramming three connected display units inside a phone would probably make it thicker, though. It does seem like a lot of complexity just to get a larger screen in a smartphone. The Edge screen seemed a little crazy at first, too, and look how that turned out.
- Patently Mobile