The first foldable devices launched by Samsung and Huawei (Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X) have sparked a debate on which folding mechanism is the best one.
Samsung’s display is hidden inside the chassis of the device when folded, and as a result, the display is protected against any external damage. Samsung foldables require an additional secondary display on the outside of the device to enable a user to interact with it when folded. Huawei Mate X’s display is wrapped on the outside of the device when folded, enabling the user to continue to interact with the device when it is folded. Huawei devices eliminate the requirement and expense of an additional display, but may be susceptible to accidental damage as the display is always exposed to the outside.
US Patent Publication No. 20200142447 assigned to Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. takes a third approach with a foldable display and a hinge mechanism that allows the device to be folded in two directions giving users the freedom to either fold the display inwards or outwards as needed.
US Patent Publication No. 20200142447 assigned to Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd
The main advantage of flexible displays is that they provide for a bigger display in a smaller form factor. However, IBM’s recent patent application seems to be using flexible displays for providing users with a completely different user experience. US Patent Publication No. 20200143720 describes an apparatus with an intelligent self-learning flexible display with inflating balloons, pistons, or other devices embedded into a lower layer of the display for exerting upwards pressure on specific regions of the display surface. A machine-learning program teaches display how to deform the surface into three-dimensional content and provide the user with tactile feedback.
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