The Galaxy Z Fold 2 undoubtedly fixes a lot of the complaints and problems users had with the Galaxy Fold. It now has a stronger flexible screen, a more durable hinge, and a bigger external cover screen. That said, there is definitely a lot of room for improvement and a recent Samsung patent may hint at what the company may have planned next at least as far as that hideaway hinge goes.
Next to the foldable screen, that hinge is what makes or breaks a foldable phone. Once that breaks or even lets tiny particles inside the phone, the device is as good as ruined. The new hideaway hinge, which first debuted on the Galaxy Z Flip clamshell, is almost perfect. Samsung, however, thinks it can still be improved by dumping more features into it.
A 2019 patent sighted by LetsGoDigital suggests that Samsung wants to put an LED strip down that spine. This could be used to notify users of events when neither of the two displays is within view. This could be when the foldable phone is in a bag or if it’s lying on its Cover Screen face (which would mean risking scratching that external screen).
That may sound useful on its own but features don’t exist in isolation. Every new feature will have a cost and not just the literal one. Having LED modules in the hinge as well as an opening for that light to shine through could also introduce a structural weakness in an otherwise sturdy and whole component. Samsung could be better off with some edge lighting around the main screen or even around the camera bump on the back.
Of course, having a patent doesn’t mean Samsung will actually use it. It’s not hard to imagine the company looking for more features to heap on the next foldable phone but it already has its hands full with other more important improvements. Improvements like supporting an S Pen that would, in turn, make the Galaxy Note line redundant, presuming the Galaxy S21 will indeed come with a stylus.