Phablets – a cross between a phone and tablet – have typically divided gadget fans, either they’re too big, too small or not powerful enough. A team of researchers in Canada have created a potential solution with a device that changes from a phone to a tablet and a notebook, using a set of screens and hinges. The foldable gadget can be made smaller for texting, or larger for reading maps, and can even create a makeshift laptop with a keyboard.
The idea of a foldable, multi-screen smartphone or tablet has been around for ages. One shining example of this is the Microsoft Courier, the dual-screen tablet that first made headlines nearly half a decade ago. It never made it past the concept stage but that doesn’t mean interest in the idea ever waned. Case in point: researchers from the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Canada have created a foldable smartphone unlike anything we’ve seen before. Dubbed PaperFold, it’s described as a multi-display shape-changing smartphone with reconfigurable display tiles that doesn’t stray too far fromProject Ara’s modular theme. A video for the device shows a couple of different usage scenarios. In the first, a user is viewing a photo album and by attaching a second display via magnetic hinge, individual images are then shown in full screen on the second display and can be cycled through using gesture control.