Many had broken hearts when Samsung postponed the launching of its foldable phone after defects were reported. On the other hand, Huawei is yet to commercially release its foldable phone in September after rigorous testing, learning lessons from the mistakes of Samsung.
Well, we have some good news for you. IBM, which is the world’s biggest tech patent holder, and it has one of the most progressive innovation laboratories, has announced a folding smartwatch that can go from watch to phone to full tablet.
Are you amazed, right? While Apple and Google get all the attention, IBM has been bringing all the innovative computing tech since the 50s, from the leading mainframes of the 60sto the first accomplished AI to the first commercial quantum computer. This company is dynamic, forceful, and innovative that has made breakthroughs in most advanced innovations in history.
But this patent published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on June 11, 2019, and uncovered by Dutch tech publication Lets Go Digital, (PDF) seems hard to digest. The patent, titled Variable display size for an electronic display device, shows a rectangular, touch screen display of a watch that unfolds to form a full-sized wristwatch while strapped to your wrist.
This takes the foldable devices to many steps ahead from a watch mode to a tablet mode.
There is no mention of how the smart touchscreen, which will be repeatedly-folding is supposed to work without peeling or cracking as all those Samsung smartphones did (Update: Samsung seems to have fixed the problem, and the phones will be released soon)
The original patent depicts a smartwatch with a nearly bezel-free, tall screen that’s larger than the displays of most current devices in the market today, displaying the time above weather details and icons for 4 apps.
Somehow, the screen unfolds to a more smartphone-like array of 4 panels, using the extra space to display 9 app icons, a search bar, and an expanded weather and time area. Then the screen enlarges to an evern wider area with 8 total panels, simultaneously displaying a tablet-like array of 16 icons, search bar, a newsfeed, and time/weather infoion. TheLetsGoDigital intensifies the original filing pleasant looking screens that use the display areas somewhat differently. While Lets Go Digital says that the patent doesn’t clearly describe how the unfolding or assembly process works, IBM claims that users would be able to extend the area of the display from 1 to 2 to 4 to 8 panels.
YOU MAY LIKE: An Inkless Pen That Can Last For Ages
According to IBM, the concept is to expand the touchscreen using “a set of slides that form a storage compartment within the housing” — which is capable of utilizing and recognizing the larger display size as additional panels slide out. IBM also shows the patterns in which a small watch screen could be doubled or tripled to sub-smartphone size using smaller panels, similar to a table with folding extenders.
However, it is unlikely that such a device will be introduced anywhere in the near future as their current focus on consulting, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. Some Redditors point out that IBM rewards employees for patenting even very “stupid” inventions, tying their patents to promotions and internal recognition while giving the company both licensable innovations and defensive patents for lawsuits.