South Korean technology giants are actively submitting patents related to collapsible panels to save the smartphone industry's decline through hardware innovation.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) on Sunday, in the past six years, South Korea has applied for 276 patents related to foldable panels and applied for 210 patents in the past three years.
The country's intellectual property agency said that in the past six years, LG Display has applied for the most patents (94), followed by competitors Samsung Display (80), followed by Samsung Electronics (23) and LG Electronics (17).
The foldable panel is seen as a breakthrough in new technology, with differentiated features that allow the device to be used as a regular smartphone in fold mode and as a tablet when unfolded.
Samsung Electronics is expected to launch its first foldable smartphone in early next year with its subsidiary Samsung Display. Samsung Dong-jin, president of Samsung Electronics Mobile, said earlier this month that the company "overcame the last obstacle."
It is rumored that Apple will also cooperate with LG Display to launch the first foldable mobile phone in 2020. Other Chinese mobile phone manufacturers Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi are also developing their own foldable devices, with the aim of launching them as soon as possible.
The key to a collapsible smartphone is to create a technology that can withstand thousands of bends, folds, and deployments. Therefore, most of the patents applied by Korean technology giants are related to the durability of foldable panels.
According to KIPO, the largest number of Korean application patents is the hinge technology and housing technology (86), followed by the technology of resuming the panel after deployment (50), sensing the user's touch (48) and cover technology when folding ( twenty two).
“Foldable smartphones are expected to drive the stagnant smartphone market with completely different designs and innovative technologies,” said Kim Jong-chan, head of KIPO's display device screen division.
“Because durability is the key to the commercialization of foldable phones, a technology company that has patents on related technologies will outperform its competitors,” he said.