(Pocket-lint) - It seems Nokia believes there will be a market for foldable smartphones after Phone Arena uncovered a patent filed by Nokia way back in 2013 for a "Foldable device". The patent was granted by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), although Nokia has apparently been filing patents for more simple versions of the technology since 2005.

The picture in Nokia's patent shows what looks like a compact mirror, with two identical looking sides connected by a hinge. Inside the device is a single screen panel that folds in half, but as for the size of the screen, the possibilities are vast. Nokia mentions in the patent filing: "[i]n this way it is possible to provide a pocket size device with a relatively large display (for example, a 6, 7 or 8 inch display or larger)".

Phone Arena does say that the patent filing may mean nothing at all, and Nokia may not ever release a foldable smartphone, but considering there's rumours suggesting Samsung will release a folding smartphone later this year, we'll be keeping a close on this one.

The Samsung Galaxy X is expected to launch later in 2017 and will allegedly feature a design that will allow it to transform into a 7-inch tablet. Samsung is reported to have already ordered 100,000 units of the device, so perhaps it doesn't expect huge sales if and when it launches.

Nokia has only just made a return to the smartphone world after parent company HMD Global recently released the Nokia 6 in China. We're also expecting to see the Nokia 8, the company's flagship device, unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2017.

Writing by Max Langridge.