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October 5, 2017

The Folding Galaxy Tab

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

Samsung is all aglow over the potential for a folding LED screen, coming to a Galactic mobile device perhaps as early as next year. Whatever.

Science fiction has shown us examples of folding screens before, such as digital newspapers and other gizmos. It looks neat, but is it practical?

I recall the current fascination in science fiction movies with transparent monitors. Yes, it’s great to have a camera angle through the screen looking at an actor’s face. In real life, however, it would be annoying as hell to see through a monitor. Even on your current monitor, you can set window transparency but anything other than 100 percent opaque is annoying.

To imagine a folding mobile device requires me to think of a reason to fold the thing. What other items do I use that fold?

My wallet, or “billfold,” folds, primarily so that it can accommodate paper money and still fit in my pants pocket. Eyeglasses fold for easier storage. You fold bedsheets for storage. In fact, all clothes are folded for neat storage, though my kids haven’t figured out that one yet. Therefore, let me draw the conclusion that folding is for storage.

Would a Galaxy Tab appeal to me better if I could fold it?

I can imagine a standard, 10-inch tablet. If I could fold the thing, then I could jam into my pocket. Looking at the thickness of the current 10-inch Galaxy Tab, it would still be about 3/4-inch thick if I put in my pocket. That’s a bit bulky, so I probably wouldn’t fold it for storage.

Folding also introduces stress. If you fold a piece of paper back and forth several times eventually it tears along the fold. This trick is one way you can cut paper without using scissors. Will it have the same effect on an LED screen?

The fold is where stress is introduced. I can imaging that part of the screen being darker than the rest. In fact, people who collect posters want them rolled and not folded because of those unappealing folds.

Rolling a poster brings up an interesting concept: Another screen presentation in science fiction is the scrolling display. A character whips out a tube and pulls it apart. Expanding in the middle is an LED screen (transparent, of course). That’s another way to carry around a gizmo, in a tube. In fact, a tube-shaped Galaxy Tab would be kind of fun. Yet, I don’t see anyone clamoring for such a design.

We’ll have to wait and see what Samsung does with their folding display. I’m sure it will be super neat to see, but whether it’s practical or they can explain why it’s necessary will be the fun part.

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