A recent patent application filed by Google suggests that the search giant is experimenting with folding screen technology, similar to the panels seen on the Huawei Mate X and the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The file, discovered by Patently Mobile describes a method for building an OLED panel that can be repeatedly folded and used in a "modern computing device".
The interesting thing here is that Google does not produce any sample of its own, and it's not the kind of company that makes its own phones. Like Apple with its iPhones, Google supposedly subcontracts the manufacture of Pixel 3 to Foxconn, and both HTC and LG share manufacturing tasks in Pixel 2 phones. That does not mean it is impossible for a product based on this patent to see the light of the day, it's just that, if it does, it's probably because Google gave it to a third party instead of producing a folding product. screen itself.
The patent continues to imagine a possible folding device that could be bent in two different places, a "Z-fold screen", without breaking, thanks to what sounds like a smaller number of layers required when constructing the device's screen . However, we are not manufacturing experts.
It is not clear if Google would ever build something like this or why we would want a Z-fold, but the survival of folding phones is definitely still an open question. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is qualified to survive "hundreds of thousands" of folds, while the manufacturer of Gorilla Glass, Corning, is developing a glass screen that can be folded and expected to be more durable than existing plastic solutions .
It is important to mention that the Google patent does not even mention the word "telephone" once. Instead, it refers to the way in which the screen could be used by "modern computing devices". It seems to me that these are phones, but could refer to tablets or even laptops, assuming that Google is still working on tablets and laptops.
Google's interest in collapsible smartphones has so far focused on the software aspect of its design. He added support for folding screens on Android last November, and also worked with Samsung to ensure that Android would function as the Galaxy Fold operating system. Clearly, collapsible phones are important for the future of Android, and Google seems to be interested in both hardware and software.