New Patent Suggests Samsung's Folding Phone Will Have Two Batteries

By Holly Brockwell on at

The rumour that the Galaxy Flex (or whatever it ends up called) will have a battery on either side looks like it was pretty accurate, according to new patent documents.

Samsung's filing was spotted by Dutch tech site LetsGoDigital, and includes some juicy images that give us an idea of how the foldy phone with its rumoured three cameras will actually work.

The filing has the catchy name 'A method for controlling a plurality of batteries and an electronic device thereof,' and describes a way of ensuring that a device with two connected batteries doesn't suffer from current leakage between them.

Samsung is pretty clear in the text of the filing that we shouldn't take any of this as actual device design:

"It should be understood that there is no intention of limiting the present disclosure to the particular forms disclosed herein, and the present disclosure should be understood to cover various modifications, equivalents, and/or alternatives of embodiments of the present disclosure."

Which is legalese for "this is just an example, we might use it in completely different devices."

A huge list of potential uses follows, including the obvious ones (smartphones, e-books, laptops, wearables, digital photo frames and cameras) and some less expected ideas:

  • Contact lenses
  • Head-mounted displays
  • Fabrics or electronic clothing
  • Tattoos
  • Implantable circuits
  • Games consoles or media boxes
  • An electronic dictionary
  • An electronic key
  • Furniture
  • Vehicles
  • A building

Covering all their bases there, then.

The patent also includes the possibility of a holographic display (!!!):

"The hologram device 864 may show a three dimensional (3D) image in the air by using an interference of light."

This doesn't mean there'll be a holographic screen on the bendy phone, though: it just means Samsung is making sure its tech is protected if it goes in that direction in the future.

The images accompanying the patent give us a better idea than ever of what the Galaxy Flex/Fold/Whatever might actually look like, and what it might be like to use (better than the Royole FlexPai, we hope):

There's no info about the sizes of the two batteries, but the previous report estimated a whopping 5,000 to 6,000mAh, which will do nicely.

From the diagrams, we can see that there's one big battery in the smartphone portion of the handset, and a smaller one in the fold-out section. The patent information states that the phone will automatically switch to whichever battery has the most power, rather than defaulting to the one in the part of the phone currently being used.

Sensibly, Samsung has also included safeguards against overheating (the Note 7 disaster might feel a long time ago now, but clearly Samsung is determined not to let lightning strike twice). If one battery heats up past a certain temperature, the phone will reduce the power demand on that battery to let it cool down while the other one takes on more of the load.

We might be all preoccupied with CES 2019 at the moment, but Mobile World Congress is not far away now – and that's when we're expecting to find out all the juicy details of the new phone. Until then, we'll continue speculating like crazy. [Trusted Reviews]