Leading South Korean technology-company, LG, is planning to develop a see-through foldable smartphone in the near future and take the design of smartphones into a new realm. LG’s plans for the new smartphone was discovered recently when a researcher found that a patent for the new design had been registered under the company’s name.
Documents attached with the patent shows an exciting design for the new smartphone that are sure to excite both technology geeks and mainstream consumers who are looking for the “next thing” in future smartphones.
Let's Go Digital, a technology website that is based in Amsterdam, found that a patent published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) shows a folding smartphone that features a transparent body.
The LG patent filed with the USPTO is titled "Mobile Terminal" and reveals the technical details of a foldable smartphone that uses a "transparent flexible display." According to the USPTO, while this isn't the first patent for a transparent smartphone, this is the first ever patent for a see-through foldable smartphone.
The LG “Mobile Terminal” folds in the middle like a book. When the smartphone is opened like a tablet, one side is fully transparent, while the other side has an opaque portion that probably covers the battery area.
The photos in the patent show the phone is around 75% transparent and that when a user holds the phone at different angles it will result in varying levels of transparency. When the smartphone is laid flat, the phones transparency will lower to a minimum level, but when the phone is held at a slight angle, users will be able to see right through it.
An example of a foldable smartphone
In its report on the phone, Let's Go Digital also noted that the see-through glass in the phone isn’t just for show, and that when the display transparency is around 20%, a rear touch sensor becomes activated and that this will allow the user to point to certain items on-screen from the rear side of the phone. This means that the user won't need to position their hands so as to allow the thumb to reach the center of the display, or to hold the device with one hand and touch the display using the other hand.
According to the USPTO documents LG filed the patent more than three years ago, which demonstrates that the company’s interest in foldable smartphone isn’t new. LG Electronics partner company, LG Display, has been busy producing transparent displays and rollable OLED screens and these technologies will be important to creating transparent foldable smartphones.
According to South Korean tech journalists who cover LG, with its patents approved, and with LG Displays assistance, the company might be closer to a working model than most think and a first generation phone could be introduced in 2020 or 2021.