This possibility is strongly hinted in a new Samsung patent filing that was discovered by Patent Bolt. The document revealed of two likely tablet form factors that obviously are designed to skirmish with the iPad Air and the Retina-toting iPad Mini 2.
What is remarkable about the supposed iPad challengers is their bendable display panel. From the sketches provided by Patent Bolt - viewable here - one of the possible Galaxy Tab or Galaxy Note bears a compact build, automatically making it as the next iPad Mini rival.
No inner specs - processing chips, dimensions and the like - were provided for the slate but it definitely merits more than a second look in the event it becomes real. The tablet is foldable into two, which would transform its portrait orientation into a device that is quite similar to a phablet-size smartphone.
While the possibilities are without boundaries, the specific function presented in the patent filing appears to pertain only to portability. Owners of the 'foldable tablet' can easily slide it into a pocket as suggested by the Samsung patent application.
However, it cannot be discounted that the folded tablet will also feature hybrid or stand-alone functions. Perhaps the device can double as a smartphone - able to process calls and messages when not spread out.
And same capabilities could be found in another embodiment that is contained in the patent filing. In another sketch, a large-screen tablet in landscape orientation is shown in three stages - first as a regular slate then in the next frame, one-third of the device was seen folded towards the screen.
In the last representation, the supposed Galaxy tablet was folded into three, living up to the patent filing's description of the tablet having a tri-fold flexible display as opposed to the first's dual flex screen.
Bendable or flexible display screens have become staple for upcoming device rumours but mostly they are geared for smartphone so this is the first time that a manufacturer will introduce a technology that leads to the availability of tablets with display panels that not only bend but also fold.
By offering a fresh dimension on its ongoing mobile device war with Apple, Samsung could be hoping to finally crack the right formula that will allow its Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note tablet series to seriously challenge the continuing dominance of both the regular iPad and the iPad Mini.
While there is no assurance that bendable or foldable displays will come right out of the box with the 2014 line up of the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note, having them on board will surely stoke interest among the millions of tablet users.
If the technology is already prepped for volume production, Samsung would likely intro prototypes of foldable Galaxy Tabs and Galaxy Notes - spanning the 7-inch, 8-inch and 10-inch screen sizes - by the first quarter of 2014.
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