Foldable phone: which manufacturer will launch it first?

For months, we have been reading information and seeing how some leaks unveil the plans of an increasing number of manufacturers launching a foldable phone. Now we found out something interesting about this device: every manufacturer’s patent. Will this tell us which manufacturer will release the phone first?

Samsung is certainly the manufacturer with the most leaked information on the web about the development of a foldable phone. Given said information, the brand is ahead in the race towards launching the first foldable phone.

Foldable phones and patents: what can they tell us?

We can certainly think that the manufacturer with the most patents to develop a foldable phone would be the first one to launch the first foldable phone onto the market. When we talk about foldable phones, we are referring to a device that can be folded, including its display and some of its components. Therefore, we are not talking about phones like the ZTE Axon M, which physically puts together two displays and is not flexible at all. This phone can only be opened and closed.

We have gotten some interesting facts from the Korean Intellectual Property Office about what manufacturers have been doing. The office has received a total of 276 patents related to foldable phones in the past 6 years, so we can now have an idea about how long manufacturers have been toying with the idea of creating these devices. However, 210 out of the 276 patents were filed in the past 3 years. Given that we are talking about a Korean office, it is evident that LG and Samsung have monopolized the patent game.

In fact, LG Display has filed most of the patents for a total of 94. Samsung has filed 80 patents via Samsung Display and 23 via Samsung Electronics. LG Electronics has filed 17 patents. This should give us an idea of how LG is working even harder than Samsung to launch a foldable phone. This information certainly reveals that Korean manufacturers are working hard in this sense, putting them ahead alongside Huawei. The Chinese company’s executives have claimed that the brand will be the first to launch a foldable phone even before the year is over.

Therefore, LG, Samsung and Huawei are the three manufacturers fighting for the crown. We think Samsung will be the one to come forward in the next CES to show the first foldable phone of the market, as the phone was privately showcased during the MWC. Of course, we cannot predict the future. We know for sure that these devices will only take months to come out instead of years, as we previously thought. We will have to wait and see what these phone will be used for and how they will adapt to the market once they are launched. We are excited.

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