Samsung reported to be working on tablet with folding screen

A report out of South Korea says Samsung is going to release a mobile device with a folding screen. The device supposedly unfolds from smartphone size to a small tablet form. Intriguing as it sounds, it’s not something buyers are likely to want.

Device makers have long wanted to produce a smartphone-like gadget that is small yet has multiple displays that unfold into a bigger device. A report has surfaced saying Samsung is working on such a gadget for release next year.


The Korean report is not clear given the difficulties in translating the Korean to English, but from the drawing accompanying an earlier patent application, the device looks to be a tri-fold design using three displays. The small gadget, apparently a smartphone, unfolds into a tablet with an 8- or 9-inch display.

In the drawing it's unclear if the gadget uses a single folding display or three smaller displays that work together when unfolded. The device appears to be thick when closed in the smartphone form.

This may be one of those prototype devices that never sees the light of day. Even if released, this type of folding gadget has never caught consumers’ eyes in the past. It’s easy to forget, but a number of smartphones with multiple displays that produce a bigger screen have appeared over the years and not many people bought them. CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt has a roundup of such devices, none of which is still around today.

This new information follows on the heels of a recent report that Samsung hopes to make devices with bendable displays . It is not clear from this latest report if this is the technology used.

This seems to be another wild idea that companies are kicking around to make devices that stand out from the crowded field. There are many smartphones for consumers to choose from, and the tablet space is getting crowded, too. Samsung may be trying to avoid the "me too" dilemma that OEMs are facing. It’s not a sure bet that this type of device, smartphone or tablet, is the solution.

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