To make this work, Samsung is using two different hinges, as the documentation shows: one folds inwards, as on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and one folds outwards, as we saw with the Huawei Mate X (where the main screen stays on the outside of the phone). This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard about a tri-folding phone from Samsung: you may remember that Samsung’s plans were first revealed by a tipster back in April, although there wasn’t much in the way of supporting information then.
Samsung has mastered the art of manufacturing folding smartphones with devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, and it now appears that it is ready to add another fold to the mix, according to a recently published patent. The patent, which was discovered by LetsGoDigital, depicts a device with three independent display elements that merge to make one large screen. The device folds into a Z form, so one display panel remains visible as a screen when everything is closed up.
This new patent application gives us much more detail about the device, right down to the positioning of the circuit boards and the fingerprint sensor embedded in one of the screen panels. There’s also a triple-lens rear camera positioned on the back. Samsung has even found room for a HDMI connector as well as a USB-C port, though the usual caveat about patents applies – these filings show design ideas, and don’t always end up being converted into actual products that go on sale to consumers.
The electronics giant is already the best in the business at making foldable phones, and the new patent that we’ve seen suggests that there’s plenty more to come . Adding another hinge brings with it a whole host of extra engineering challenges – but Samsung doesn’t seem to be daunted by that.
Another foldable form factor, modeled by the Motorola Razr. Samsung has never been shy about trying new ideas with its phones, whether that’s adding a stylus or making use of a folding screen. It tends to be one of the first manufacturers to embrace new technologies such as under-display cameras.