A new patent application from Samsung for a smartphone has been revealed that's able to be stretched out to that of a mini tablet should the user require the added space for viewing entertainment content or a large spreadsheet.
In this first patent, Samsung notes that their invention covers "an electronic device that may include a flexible display member, a fastening member overlapping the display member in a plan view, a housing unit including a first case member and a second case member configured to contain respective opposite portions of the display member, and a hinge unit including a body member coupled to the fastening member to be rotatable in the plan view, a first moving member connecting a portion of the body member to the first case member, and a second moving member connecting an opposite portion of the body member to the second case member."
In the patent figures, 1A and 1B, illustrate a smartphone with side bezels that could be grabbed and then pulled left and right to expand the display to the size of a mini tablet. Patent figure 2 illustrates the parts that make up the new stretchable device.
Samsung's patent figures 6B, 7B and 9B below illustrate various fastening member and hinge configurations that could be adopted by Samsung to support the back of the display stretching from an original smaller sized phone to that of a mini tablet. The sides remain locked into position until an icon is pressed that would unlock the side bezels allowing the user to expand the display by moving the bezels left and right at the same time.
Samsung filed this patent application in Q1 2018 and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published it on Nov. 29, 2018. Considering that this is a patent application, such an invention coming to market is a big unknown at this time.
When Samsung introduced a prototype of a folding smartphone last month, one of their graphics covering their new Infinity flex displays illustrated that the company is considering a family of new form factor smartphones and tablets that could fold, scroll or stretch. Today's patent covers a device that is clearly in the "stretchable" display category.