We've seen patents for foldable devices that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, including a three-way foldable tablet from Intel that we reported on yesterday. But among the wide variety of applications that have come forth, Samsung still managed to come up with something different - a foldable phone that also has dedicated gaming keys.
The patent itself seems to be a simple design claim, so there isn't a whole lot of information regarding its functionality, but the images do give us a good idea of how it would work on the outside. There's, of course, a fold along the middle of the device where the screen is bent, but at the bottom you'll find a set of buttons that seem to be meant for gaming controls. The claimed design shows a D-pad on one side and six buttons on the other, but this idea could evolve into something different.
What's interesting about this is that the buttons themselves seem to be in a third folding section, much smaller than the other two. This allows the buttons to be visible when you want them and hidden away when you don't. A small portion of the display also seems to extend to this third section, and it's visible whenever the buttons are hidden.
Foldable smartphones are just starting to make their way to the market, and gaming phones are a niche market as well, so it's not clear who might be interested in a device like this. Nonetheless, the concept is intriguing, and it may not end up being used on a smartphone necessarily. As usual, it's important to keep in mind that patents do not always make it into a consumer product, and even if they do, it may be a while before it happens.