“Each of the three new patents present a solution to the flaws of the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s folding mechanism“
Ahead of the April 26th release, Samsung sent out the first batch of Galaxy Fold units to media publications for evaluation. Unfortunately, it was embroiled in a controversy, wherein the foldable phone’s hinge design caused a bulge on display, the bending mechanism fractured the flexible PCB, and, finally, the gap between the screen and the hinge caused debris underneath the OLED panel. Owing to these three major design concerns, Samsung recalled all the units and delayed the launch indefinitely. However, now, over the course of the past few weeks, Samsung has published three separate patents pertaining to foldable phone technology. On close observation, each of these patents present solutions to the flaws of the Galaxy Fold, according to a report by Pricebaba.
Flawed hinge design
As mentioned above, a poor hinge design of the Galaxy Fold is the primary cause for Samsung pausing the Galaxy Fold release. While the hinge rocks metal joints for more effortless opening and closing mechanism. Reviewers reported that they started noticing a bulge in the screen closer to the hinge just two days into using. It isn’t clear what the exact problem could be, but it is mostly from a damaged internal component from the bend. To fix this, as Pricebaba notes, Samsung’s latest patent presents a simple design consisting of a multi-member hinge made of multiple interlocking trapezoidal blocks that are connected with pins, like a motorcycle chain. This design would allow the hinge to fold and unfold without complicating the internal parts.
The patent describes the trapezoidal blocks can be manufactured from aluminium or high-strength plastics, with coating materials like silicone or polyurethane to get rid of the noise and smoother transition. The trapezoidal blocks order how far the foldable display bends before the interlocking blocks join each other. This also acts as a layer that limits the bend.
Fractured flexible PCB
The flawed and complicated hinge of a foldable phone, with moving parts, is likely to fail and damage the display from the inside. The folding mechanism could be contributed to the fractured printed circuit boards (PCB) of the Galaxy Fold. This could also be the source of dust or debris that failed the display from the inside. However, Samsung filed a patent for a new flexible PCB design. This is aimed at improving the durability of the components, the Pricebaba report details. The new flexible PCB can be bent or twisted at any angle, thus eliminating any damage. The new PCB design involves S-shaped zig-zag patterns, resembling a telephone cord.
Entering of dust and foreign particles from the hinge gap could be a significant reason for the broken displays of the Galaxy Fold. Also, the display started flickering as reviewers tried to peel off the protective film applied on top of the screen. This proves that Samsung Galaxy Fold’s display isn’t wholly durable and needs a proper protective layer to keep it functional. Quite obviously, sealing off the entire chassis could prevent the screen from getting damaged. According to the Pricebaba report, Samsung filed a patent that details “foldable display devices” bearing “encapsulation layers” that can prevent the ingress of dust and foreign particles. However, it doesn’t describe how Samsung would achieve waterproofing as it isn’t limited to a single device. The patent details various combinations of materials that could seal up the flexible display as well as the entire foldable unit.