A Google Patent Published this Month by the U.S. Patent Office Reveals a Future Foldable Pixel Phone
Last week Patently Apple posted a report titled "Two of Google's Key Pixel Phone Architects are out which has caused a little Mayhem behind-the-scenes." Days later we posted an IP report titled "A Google Patent filing reveals a Smartphone that uses both a Stylus & 3D Hand Gestures to take on iPhone and Samsung's Note." Google is certainly looking for an edge over Apple's iPhone and now we learn that the Pixel team has even filed for a patent covering a possible foldable version of the Pixel phone. That's a riskier move than adding a stylus to a future Pixel phone, but if they could beat Apple to market, it would be some form of bragging rights. Of course, that's if they have the talent to actually pull it off to begin with.
Google states that their invention covers an electronic device with a flexible display such as an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display can be embodied using two main parts that allow the device to be folded in the middle. In an open state, the flexible display can be substantially planar, and in a closed state the flexible display can be folded by substantially 180 degrees. A mechanism can be provided that protects the flexible display in and between the open and closed states.
In Google's patent FIG. 2 below we're able to see an illustrated example of a cross-section of a folding phone device; FIG. 3 shows an example of a folding phone in an open state; FIG. 4 shows an example cross-section of a folding phone in an open state.
Although Google notes that the invention covers a folding phone, they also ensure that their invention covers a future folding tablet as well.
Google's patent doesn't expand on the marketing side of the folding phone by explaining how Android would support this or that feature. Instead the patent filing is all about the nuts and bolts of the physical device that goes into great detail about the folding hinge mechanism and so forth.
For instance, Google notes: "Advancement of the bracket along the shaft rotates the first arm about the first and second pivots. The electronic device further comprises a plate attached to the hinge and slidingly coupled to the first body member, the hinge coupled to the first body member by the plate, wherein the first arm has a second pivot with the plate."
While it's not exactly exciting stuff, it at least provides us with a peak at what Google's engineers are working hard on which could end up either as an Android folding phone prototype for their OEMs to work with or even something fun for their Pixel Phone fans that's different from an iPhone.
While Google's patent filing was originally made in Q4 2018, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published it earlier this month.