Samsung wins a Design Patent for a Foldable Tablet Display that Industry Players like Dell, HP and others may use in new 2021-2022 Devices
Back in October Patently Apple posted a report titled "Intel, Samsung, Microsoft are Collaborating on the new 'Horseshoe Bend Project' that covers 17" Foldable Display Notebook standards." The report noted that a Korean tech report claimed that Microsoft had begun working on a project to build foldable laptops that could have their screens folded in half.
At the time it was reported that multinational display manufacturers such as Samsung Display and BOE were developing 17-inch OLED panels for foldable laptops. Microsoft's Surface Neo will be introduced in the U.S. sometime in the second half of 2021. Microsoft is now testing the market with their Surface Duo smartphone in the market to assist in getting their folding tablet right.
Further, the report had noted that Samsung and BOE were to be the main suppliers of the new 17-inch display panels that will be supplied as standardized products to Lenovo, Dell, and HP, the report notes. Below is photo of Dell's foldable tablet prototype that was presented at the 2020 CES trade show.
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Yesterday Samsung was granted a design patent D910,620 for a foldable tablet and display from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that will help to protect Samsung and those licensing their displays.
Although Apple isn't involved in this new form factor officially, Apple continues to work on foldable devices for possible future iPhones and iPads that could double as a notebook. Various patents (01, 02 & 03) touch on this with others that could be found in our archives on this subject matter.
While Apple will certainly not going to be first to market with such a device, they certainly can be a player in this experimental form factor should it strike a nerve in the market big enough to chase.
It was reported this morning that Apple commissioned LG to develop a folding display. At least it's a start. Whether Apple will take this project further will depend on the success of this form factor over time.
Microsoft promises to bring their Surface Neo, their dual display tablet to market by Q4 2021 after a delay last year. Whether the 'Horseshoe Bend Project' will get traction in late 2021 and whether Dell, HP and others will be ready in that time frame is still unknown.