It can seem at times like phones are no longer truly innovative. Ever since the release of the iPhone, most handsets have looked very similar and largely used the same basic technology. While the technology has improved massively, the essentials of the smartphones we use have stayed the same.
However, this could change very soon. One advance that has been talked about in tech for many years is that of a foldable screen, and therefore a foldable smartphone. This could be reality in the near future, as Korean tech giant LG has just filed a number of patents featuring phones that fold.
Images published on January 12 with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) show two different phone designs, both of which feature a large screen that folds in half with the rest of the device. While no details about the potential hardware of such a device have been released, there are several things that we can infer.
Firstly, LG's potential foldable phone is certainly nice to look at. Both designs feature small bezels, and when folded the phones are much slimmer than the devices we're used to. This is a refreshing change from the standard design of modern smartphones, as well as being slightly more convenient and easier to carry.
One of the variants of the phone also seems to feature a display on the rear of the device, which would become the front when folded. This is shown by a simple digital clock, which doesn't tell us much about the capability of the potential display. It's not clear whether the phone could be used when folded as well as unfolded, for example.
The other variant, on the other hand, seems to come with a cover for the rear of the phone (when unfolded). This suggests that the folded phone will be able to be used as normal, as the cover presumably is concealing another screen.
Of course, with so little known about this potential device, all we have right now is speculation. However, there is a small chance that we will find out more about this exciting foldable smartphone very soon.
The 2018 Mobile World Congress (MWC) starts on February 26th, which is typically the biggest phone show of the year. With these patents being unveiled at this time, it could be a sign that LG is planning on announcing a foldable phone of some kind at the trade show.
This is fairly unlikely, and would mean the arrival of this unique technology much earlier than expected. It seems more reasonable to expect LG to announce its next flagship phone at this year's MWC, rather than anything too world-shattering. However, it's far from impossible.
With Samsung all but confirming it will be unveiling the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus at MWC 2018, the unveiling of a foldable phone would be a great way for LG to overshadow its fellow Korean rival. You never know what could happen, so keep your fingers crossed.