A recent patent application filed by Google suggests that the research giant is experimenting with folding display technology, similar to the panels seen on Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold. The file, identified by Patently Mobile describes a method for the construction of an OLED panel that can be folded repeatedly and used in a "modern processing device."
What is interesting here is that Google does not produce any separate display, and it is not the type of company that makes its own devices. Like Apple with its iPhones, Google reported outsourcing the production of Pixel 3 to Foxconn and sharing the production duties of HTC and LG on Pixel 2 phones. That doesn't mean it's impossible for a product based on this patent seeing the light of day, it's just that in the event that it does, it probably will be because Google has licensed it to a third party rather than producing a folding screen itself.
The patent continues to imagine a possible folding device that could bend at two different points – a "Z-fold display" – without breaking, thanks to what sounds like a smaller number of layers needed when constructing the screen of the device. However, we do not show production experts.
It is not clear whether Google will ever build such a thing or why we would like a Z-fold, but the survival of folding phones is certainly still an open question. Samsung's Galaxy Fold is rated to survive "hundreds of thousands" of folds, while glassmaker Gorilla Corning is developing a glass screen that can be folded and hopefully will be more durable than existing plastic solutions.
It is important to remember that the Google patent does not even mention the word "telephone" once. Instead it refers to how the display could be used by "modern computing devices". It seems to me that he is talking about phones with us, but he could refer to tablets or even laptops, assuming that Google is still working on tablets and laptops.
Google's interest in folding smartphones has so far focused on the software aspect of their design. He added support for folding displays in Android last November and also worked with Samsung to ensure that Android worked as a Galaxy Fold operating system. Clearly, folding phones are important for the future of Android and Google seems to be interested in both hardware and software.