Laptops have embraced the flexible design, and 360-degree hinges are now seen on most of the new launches out there. Smartphones are expected to see the same trend, and Samsung is heavily expected to launch a flexible display smartphone in Q3 this year - as is LG for Q4 2017. Expected to join the party is apparently Nokia, which has finally got a patent approved for a 'foldable device'. This patent hints that Nokia could indeed launch a flexible display smartphone this year.
Nokia was granted a patent for a "Foldable device" by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in September. It had applied for the patent back in December 2013. The photo attached to the patent, spotted by PhoneArena, shows a small pocket mirror like device that bends and snaps shut from between. The device has two identical pieces on both the sides that open up to form a large smartphone display. Nokia had first applied for the patent on December 4, 2013, and it finally got granted on September 13 last year.
A granted patent doesn't necessarily mean that the company will look to introduce a foldable device into the market - however enticing that may sound. It could be just one of the patents that big tech companies like to keep with no intentions of building a consumer product, and could simply indicate one of the possible avenues the company may take in the future.
The abstract reads, "An apparatus including: housing parts foldably connected to each other, the housing parts being configured to be movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration; a display assembly pivotably connected to the housing parts, wherein the display assembly comprises a flexible display part; the flexible display part is configured to bend in response to a closing movement of the housing parts; and the display assembly is configured to be retracted inside a space defined by the housing parts in response to a closing movement of the housing parts. "
What makes the foldable smartphone more credible was the fact that in 2013, Nokia was granted a separate patent for a crazy foldable thin battery that hints at Nokia's seriousness in bringing foldable smartphones into the market. Whatever the case may be, time will tell all.
Once a legendary brand, Nokia recently put an end to production activities and licensed its brand rights to HMD Global. The company plans to launch a slew of Nokia phones this year, and it flagged off 2017 by launching the Nokia 6 this month. The device has managed to gain 500,000 registrations for its flash sale on January 19 exclusively on JD.com in China.