Samsung was granted a design patent for a multi-fold tablet back in September 2016 and last Tuesday they were granted at least their second utility patent for a multi-fold tablet.
Samsung's granted patent covers a multifold tablet as presented in patent FIGS. 1A and 1B above. When the sides of the tablet display are folded in, they protect the tablet's main display. This is illustrated in patent figure 6.
As noted in patent FIG. 4 above, the system behind the folding capability includes a 'sensing unit' which could include at least one of a pressure sensor, an illumination sensor, a proximity sensor, an acceleration sensor, an angular velocity sensor, a gyro sensor, a strain gauge sensor, and a gravity sensor.
Samsung's patent FIG. 5B below illustrates a front view of the flexible display including a sub display unit and a key input unit; FIG. 6 illustrates front view of the flexible display including a transparent cover, allowing messages, time, date to be seen through the cover.
Samsung further noted that "When a user intends to use a medium-sized display screen, the configuration of the flexible display panel #10 can be deformed to the second configuration. For example, when the user intends to write a text message, the flexible display panel can be deformed to the second configuration.
When folded, Samsung refers to the transparent cover as "a quick-view display" for rapid functions to provide simple information to the user such a received text message, received call, an alarm and so forth.
Samsung further notes that the tablet could provide the user with telephony. Samsung doesn't dive into the telephony aspect of the tablet other than to state that "a user can make a call by using the flexible display in a third configuration."
Samsung's granted patent was published by USPTO last week. It was originally filed in April 2015 and was publicized as a patent application in June 2016.
Samsung is searching for its most creative way of foldable tablet to come out with something really new and different from competitors. Will this concept see the light? Time will tell.