Samsung documents point to a critical change to the design of the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 6.
Details on the changes come in a newly granted patent award to Samsung. Titled “Electronic Device Including Flexible Display” (PDF Link), it addresses one of the biggest concerns of foldable smartphones in regular use: they have more bulk, especially if closed, compared to the standard form factor.
First, the hinge assembly is thinner than the current hinges on the Galaxy Z Fold 5, which is always welcome. It also addresses the strain that can be placed on a foldable device through a detent-styled hinge.
This allows the device to have several “fixed” positions as it moves through its arc of travel. If Samsung takes this route for the Z Fold 6, you will have a foldable handset with some preferred positions. I’d suggest that these will be in the fully flat position when open, a 90-degree corner to echo a form used in Samsung’s marketing materials, and possibly at 120 degrees to offer a comfortable viewing angle for multimedia.
These detents should also support the two sides of the Z Fold 6, reducing the strain between the two sides of the device.
The illustrations in the patent are also worth noting. The foldable device does not match the design of the Current Z Fold devices. Instead of the current tall and narrow form factor when closed, the cover screen is wider and shorter, moving it closer to the form factor of Samsung’s Galaxy S and Galaxy A handsets. It’s an approach in devices like the OnePlus Open and the Honor Magic V2.
Normalising the Z Fold 6 to be closer to a regular phone is key to boosting adoption. While these illustrations are generic, patents can indicate a company’s thinking and direction on a product.
While features and processes seen in patents are not guaranteed to reach consumer hardware, in the case of a hinge assembly in a folding phone, I would expect to see many of the techniques—if not the entire assembly—as part of the Galaxy Z Fold 6.
Now read more about Samsung’s other folding phone for 2024, the Z Flip 6…