A new patent uncovered by LetsGoDigital has given us our first look at an experimental smartphone designed by Intel that will have a folding display. This design, which will likely be followed by many similar designs from other major developers in the mobile world, essentially gives you the advantage of having an all in one device that is both a phone and a tablet.
Intel's tri-fold phone design picks up where the company's dual-display phone projects left off. In its most compact mode, the smartphone will look just like that: a smartphone. Opening the phone up to reveal the second display extends the device's function in several ways. The second display can be used as a dedicated on-screen keyboard for typing long messages with ease. If you aren't typing, it can also be used as one large screen for reading documents or watching videos. Pulling the phone out all the way to its full extent gives you a device that essentially has three times the screen space you would have on a similar sized smartphone.
In addition to just giving you a greater amount of screen space, the triple-layer design also makes it possible to stand the phone up securely on its own in a tent mode. Intel was also able to fit a stylus into the design for easier input. Naturally this stylus will also be exceedingly useful for anyone attempting to do some design work on the tri-fold smartphone.
As this is just a patent and not a finished product, there's no telling how long we will have to wait to see products implementing this design actually come to market. The patent was first published back in 2017, however, and we already have some worked up concept design images of just what this product could look like though. As the mobile world tends to move rather quickly, it is possible that we could see something of this nature come out this year, potentially from Xiaomi.