LG Patents Intriguing Z-Folding Smartphone Design With Two Display Panels

LG has a new patent that was granted in China for a smartphone that goes beyond what the folding screen devices we have seen so far offer. The patent shows a device that has a folding screen in the middle with no seam, similar to what Samsung did with the Galaxy Fold. Things get quite different from there.

lg three screen front

LG's patent shows a Z-fold device, and as one of the images here shows, the third screen is a stand-alone unit and appears to fold back onto the front surface of the smartphone. The design would give a full front screen that looks pretty much like all the smartphones we are used to seeing today that can unfold into a device that has a screen three times as wide when needed.

leg three screen fold

LG filed for the patent in China on March 6, 2019, and the patent was granted on August 9, 2019. The patent artwork also shows that the smartphone has very thin bezels, and there appear to be no cutouts or notches in the screen for front sensors. We also see no accommodation for pop up cameras.

The assumption is that the device will have a front camera and sensors under the screen somehow and a fingerprint reader that is under the screen. There is a bezel all around the third screen that separates it from the larger folding screen. One potential caveat to this folding screen device, and folding screen devices in general, is how users will be able to put them into cases to protect from drops and scratches.

There is no charge port or headphone port, only speaker bezels; the device presumably charges wirelessly only. LG's IFA invite is teasing a smartphone that has a swivel out secondary screen that isn't a folding device. We've also seen an LG patent application that shows a three-screen device that has a space for a stylus in the hinge. The patent PDF is here.