David Imel / Android Authority
- Samsung has patented a whimsical rotating camera design for foldable phones.
- Depending on the device orientation, the module can be rotated 180 degrees to point forwards or backwards.
- This would allow Samsung to use a single camera array on its foldable phones.
According to a new patent filed with WIPO, Samsung is working on a foldable phone design with a rotating camera handle. Seen from MySmartPrice, the patent released this week shows Samsung’s possible solution to the camera placement problems inherent in the design of foldable phones.
As shown in the drawings, the stem at the top corner or outside edge of the phone rotates 180 degrees to face the screen or the back of the foldable phone. The camera body can do this automatically via a sensor that detects the device orientation. When folded, the cameras should point to the rear. When unfolded, the camera should turn towards the user. Samsung also demonstrates that the user has control over camera positioning via a software switch. Hence, this design would allow the foldable phone to take selfies and reverse shots with the same camera array.
Rotating camera for foldable phones: the pros and cons
Samsung is no stranger to double-duty camera designs. A corkscrew camera system that pops out of the body of a phone was recently patented. The Galaxy A80 also packed a flip-up module that also served as the primary rear-end and selfie shooter array. This demonstrated the value of a moving camera system.
The advantages of such a design on a foldable device are also evident. For example, Samsung would allow Samsung to install only a primary array of sensors for both selfie and primary camera shots. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a selfie camera, a cover camera and three primary rear shooters. Reducing the number of cameras with rotating designs could save costs. In addition, the design can also create valuable space for a larger battery or other components.
Other companies are also experimenting with similar designs. People like Xiaomi have several patents on rotating cameras, albeit not mounted on foldable phones.
In this context, do we really need more moving parts on a fragile foldable phone? This can lead to more potential points of failure in devices that require gentle handling. Although the durability of foldable phones has improved since the Galaxy Fold debuted, it can still be an issue for potential buyers.
Given the patent publication date, Samsung could actively develop this design. However, it is unclear if we will ever see it on a future foldable device. You definitely shouldn’t expect that with the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
What do you think of Samsung’s rotating camera patent? Let us know in the comments below!