Samsung patent collection covers curved smartphone designs and flexible displays

May 8, 2013
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Samsung patent D681,582: Mobile terminal design

Patents are a great way to find out about future products, and although they’re not necessarily representative of a final product, they do give us a small glimpse at what technology companies are working on next.

This time a few noteworthy Samsung patents have cropped up, which could have some interesting implications for future handsets being worked on by the smartphone giant. The patents cover a wide range of potential products and ideas,  from a next-generation curved smartphone design to a page turning software effect.

Flexible Displays

We know that Samsung has been working on flexible display technologies for quite a while, and now, thanks to the patent, we can understand a little more about how it will work. It will be able to detect various aspects of how users bend the display, such as folding angle and curvature of the bend, which will then adjust the output image so that it displays correctly.

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Image Credit: Patent Bolt

There’s also support for commonly used zoom in and out features, similar to “pinch zooming”, where a specific part of the display can be bent convexly or concavely in order to adjust the zoom of the displayed image.

If you’re interested in how this technology is built, the patent reveals a four layered design, featuring a multitouch screen on top and the bend detection housed at the bottom. However the device will still be flexible enough to be bent and rolled whilst displaying an image and accepting inputs from the user. The most likely implementation of this technology is as a flexible eBook reader, but this could also appear as part of a smartphone.

Page Turning Effect

Speaking of eBooks, perhaps the oddest patent on the list is one for an eBook page turning effect, which casts a shadow over the text behind the page being turned. It’s hardly the most ground breaking advancement, but in the age of constant law suits, Samsung has little choice but to protect even the most seemingly inconsequential technology.

Next-gen Galaxy camera

Moving on to handset technology; Samsung has a couple of patents which very well could appear in a future smartphone product range, the first of which appears to be a camera phone (U.S. Patent No D681,712).

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Samsung patent D681,712: Digital camera design

Details on this device, described as a Digital camera in the title,  are incredibly vague, the only information available is whatever we can take from the image. It clearly shows two separate parts; a Galaxy S(?) smartphone attached to a separate unit housing the camera and a lens. This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard about Samsung’s interest in camera technology; there’s the Galaxy Camera which cropped up last year and now the latest rumours flying around about the Galaxy S4 Zoom. Perhaps these two are related in some way?

Next-gen curved smartphone

I’ve saved the best until last; the final patent on display is for a curved smartphone which could indicate a future Samsung smartphone. Whilst curved displays aren’t entirely new, the Galaxy Nexus has a slight curvature for example, this patent design has a distinct concave appearance (see first collage of images from U.S. Patent No D681,582).

The aim here is probably to increase the smartphone’s viewing angle, improve the strength of the display, and perhaps even make it sit a little better in the user’s hand. There’s also a rather strange looking flip feature on the back by the camera, which appears to act like a shade. The benefits of this are a little obscure, is it to simply improve the lighting conditions when taking snaps outside?

It looks like there’s lots of fun tech to look forward to from Samsung, but sadly we’re still probably quite a way away from any of these released.

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