With Huawei’s foldable devices getting slimmer and setting new standards with every launch, Samsung sure seems to be feeling the pinch after taking it easy and going with iterative design updates for the past few years. And it did make plenty of sense since Samsung still is the dominant player in the foldables space. But the landscape for foldable smartphones, especially the ones with the horizontal layouts is changing, with the launch of the Google Pixel Fold and the OnePlus Open this year. OnePlus has even launched its latest foldable in India, a market that was until now dominated by Samsung when it came to foldables. New players entering the foldables space sure seems to have Samsung on its toes with a publication recently claiming that Samsung is “reverse engineering” the Huawei Mate X5 in order to figure out ways to make the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold slimmer. While we would all love to see a slimmer Galaxy Z Fold model next year, Samsung’s new patent also sheds light on the company’s efforts to integrate its S Pen stylus into its foldable.
The patent was first pointed out by Studimo in collaboration with David Kowalski and it reveals some interesting design philosophies that Samsung is working on to integrate its unique S Pen stylus into its foldables lineup. The patent in detail describes how Samsung aims to keep its foldable as slim as possible while integrating its S Pen, a task which isn’t easy given how thick the current S Pen is. Earlier this year, Samsung even announced a new case for its Galaxy Z Fold 5, that had a slimmer S Pen mounted into it making it a lot slimmer than last year’s case for the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
One layout shows a stylus attached to one side of the foldable (as a part of its frame) while another shows it mounted to the back of the device, which would be similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series and Microsoft’s Surface Duo devices. There are also details revealing changes to the S Pen’s design itself, with some designs showing more than one button and some having even three buttons along the stylus’ side.
Previous reports have hinted at the need for a slimmer S Pen design, which would make it a lot easier to integrate, via a silo in the foldable’s body itself. This would be similar to the S Pen’s current implementation in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. However, the same report also states that previous efforts to do so have failed as the device ended up becoming quite thick. Indeed, the newly explored side-mounted layout seems to be a better choice, and also allows for slimmer foldable designs.
The rumour mill has so far had very conflicting information about Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 6. With some reports indicating a new screen layout with a different aspect ratio, while others hint at a familiar design but with an integrated S Pen as seen in some leaked images of prototype versions of the Galaxy Z Fold. There’s also information about more affordable Galaxy Z FE lineup which is rumoured to launch alongside the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold series lineup, which should compete with the new generation of affordable foldables like the Tecno Phantom V Fold, Tecno Phantom V Flip (Review), and the Motorola Razr 40.
Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.
Catch the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360, at our CES 2024 hub.