Lenovo, the world's second largest supplier of personal computers understands all-too-well that they need to jump into the smartphone business as consumer's are generally preferring these devices as their primary computing device. It was reported in the last few days that Lenovo has been negotiating with Japan's NEC Corp to buy its handset subsidiary. The talks were confirmed in a separate Reuters report by a source familiar with the negotiations. The talks have been ongoing for about a year. Proof of their interest in smartphones in general was discovered by Patent Bolt in a recently published patent application by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The patent filing describes new flexible display functionality associated with turning a page of a book and more. The timing of the application just happens to coincide with a similar feature being developed by Sony.
Lenovo Invention Details Flexible Display Controls for Smartphone & Tablet Devices
Lenovo's patent filing describes new functionality being devised for devices like a smartphone or tablet computer. The new functionality could range from zooming in and zooming out of images, rotation or flipping images, and more importantly, flipping pages found in an article or ebook by simply bending the device in specific areas of the display as noted above in patent FIG. 5.
The system, noted above in Patent FIG. 8, illustrates Lenovo's new "Pressure Detection Unit", designed to interpret the particular bending motion that the user will make when using a future flex-display based device.
Considering that Sony has likewise developed such functionality in a recent patent filing, I think it strongly suggests that this kind of functionality is likely to be a future trend when mobile devices with flexible displays begin rolling out in the next couple of years.
Lenovo's patent application filed under serial number 628081 and was originally filed in Q3 2012. It was published last month by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Lenovo filed for this invention in China one year earlier.
The timing of the patent filing illustrates that Lenovo has been secretly working on entering the smartphone race for some time now. The possible acquisition of NEC's mobile phone subsidiary will certainly expedite their smartphone roadmap.
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