We've not heard much from HTC in terms of new smartphones in recent years, but the Taiwanese company could be making a dramatic return to the market with a foldable phone, according to a newly discovered patent.
As spotted by LetsGoDigital, the filing shows a mobile device that very definitely has a hinge in the middle, with the display apparently folding outwards so that it's still visible (in two halves) when the phone is closed.
There's not much to glean from the patent documentation, aside from some detailed sketches showing how the hinge mechanism works. It looks as though the fold would be horizontal across the middle, in the style of the Motorola Razr.
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The display would adapt as the device is folded, explains the patent, continuing to show information even when it was shut. That's as you would expect, and no other particularly surprising components are mentioned in the documentation.
HTC changed its CEO around this time last year, and the new boss has gone on record as saying that he wants to make the company's smartphone division profitable again. Perhaps a folding phone is the sort of premium gadget that might help in that endeavor.
As with any patent application though, it's worth remembering that these filings only show us what manufacturers are thinking about and experimenting with – there's no guarantee that these products will ever see the light of day.
If we do see a foldable phone from HTC within the next year or two, it might try and gain some market share with a more affordable price point. The few phones that we've seen from HTC in recent times have been more mid-range than high-end.
And such a device would of course have plenty of competition: Samsung now has two foldable phones on the market, the Galaxy Fold series and the Galaxy Z Flip series, while Motorola has already put out two versions of its revamped Razr phone.