Samsung Electronics announced its mid-long term strategies for smartphones at the Samsung Investor Forum held in New York in November 2014 before 200 select analysts. With Samsung having their profits crashing and the iPhone 6 hurting sales, Lee Chang-hoon, vice president of the business strategic team at Samsung Display stated during the event they would "be able to supply products with foldable displays to customer companies by the end of next year. Depending on Samsung's product cycle it's hard to say if he was targeting September 2015, March 2016 or September 2016. According to Chang-hoon, one device is to be a 10" tablet and the other a 5.5" smartphone – and the term used was foldable, not flexible or curved like the current S6.
Flash forwarding to the present we learn that Samsung may decide to try and leap frog Apple once again. The idea is to advance their Galaxy S6 to that of the Galaxy S6-Plus which will sport a giant 5.7 inch display, a full inch larger than Apple's 4.7 iPhone 6. In fact, it would even be larger than Apple's iPhone 6-Plus with its 5.5 inch display.
Where the rumor somewhat derails is when it tried to convey what Samsung would do to differentiate their Galaxy Note. While the rumor was logical, it failed to sufficiently explain where Samsung would take the Galaxy Note if the S6-Plus would be taking on the very same display size as the current Note.
While we can't speculate as to what Samsung will actually do in the short term, as in for the September product cycle, we can confidently state that the Galaxy Note is likely to take on a foldable form factor over the next 18 months. Not because of rumors, but because Lee Chang-hoon, Samsung's VP of business strategy forecasted such a move.
In today's report we present you with another advanced foldable display smartphone patent from Samsung that surfaced earlier in Q2 of this year. It presents some rather interesting and impressive advanced features which add to Samsung's long list of ideas for this next-generation foldable smartphone. With Samsung's next great shift in smartphones on the way, it makes this patent all the more intriguing. The following report focuses on just the key features found in Samsung's latest dual-display device patent in order to keep it simple.
Some of the Key Features Associated with Samsung's Future Dual Display Device
Dual Display with Dual "Sensing Hover" Capabilities
Samsung's patent FIG. 11 is a view illustrating an example of a method for sensing hovering. The user may input a control command to the multi-display apparatus only by moving their finger close to a touch screen without directly touching the touch screen. In this case, the multi-display apparatus may sense hovering using the proximity sensor. The hovering may be recognized as a single touch gesture when the user does not directly touch the touch screen and a motion is recognized within a predetermined effective recognition range on space.
According to Samsung, an infrared ray (IR) source is disposed on an upper portion of a display to recognize hovering, and an IR sensor is disposed on a lower portion of the display.
In Samsung's patent FIG. 12 we're able to see an example of a method of sensing hovering using an input pen.
Samsung notes that the input pen (#500 above) may include a magnetic field coil. The multi display apparatus may further include a magnetic field sensor (#295 above) to sense a change in the magnetic field according to the proximity of the magnetic field coil to a display which includes an infrared ray (IR) source and an IR sensor to recognize hovering of the input pen.
Samsung's New Camera Pen: "The Photographer"
In Samsung's patent FIG. 22 we're able to see a future advanced camera pen being inserted into this dual display device and FIG. 23 illustrating the pen firmly in place within the device as a second camera. The pen has a contact on its surface so that when mated with the device acts as a pen-charger.
The pen, which Samsung refers to as "the Photographer," is described as being a high-end camera and sits at the top of the pen as noted in patent figures above. Further below in patent FIG. 42 Samsung explains that there's a button users could push to take a still photo and another button for taking a video.
As noted in patent FIG. 28, Samsung states the camera pen is free to aim at anything the user wishes to photograph or film while viewing the content live on the smartphone's display. When ready, the user will simply press a virtual button (#2830 above) on the display to take the photo or start and finish a video.
Uniquely once the photo is taken, the camera establishes a color palette that matches the image you just captured so that the user could use their smart pen to do touch-ups in the right colors. The photo program will also provide the user with choices of pencil or brush tools to accomplish a task at hand.
In patent FIG. 32 we're able to see two other important aspects of the pen. The first is that OCR functionality is built in. That is, the input pen may analyze a photographed image and extract a character.
Further, as noted in patent FIG. 37, the user may read a phrase "the happy moment . . ." in a book and have it recognized through the pen's OCR functionality and then upload it to their favorite Social Network Service in one example. The same text could be transferred to the dual display device and placed in any app in sync with this feature and edit it from there as needed.
Samsung provided numerous other OCR related examples of how this would work with, such as maps. Instead of calling up simple "editing" when scanning in a name of city like Seoul, the app would call up tools for instant "navigation" and "road view" options.
The next unique capability of the camera pen is noted in FIG. 32 above, which is the "searcher" feature which is more than likely a feature in tune with Google searches when scanning text.
Samsung provides us with a simple overview in patent FIGS. 13-17 below of how the dual display smartphone will be able to open and close in various configurations due the advanced hinge that they've designed.
Samsung also provides us with a view which clearly shows that the design is destined for a tablet as well, which confirms what Samsung's Lee Chang-hoon, vice president of their business strategic team told Wall Street analysts at a meeting last November as we noted at the top of our report.
Other features include being able to erase text on screen by double tapping the end of the camera pen that turns the end into a digital eraser. Samsung also provide a chart of in-air gesture a user will be able to use with their camera pen to perform various tasks like flipping a picture to see the backside.
Samsung has been working on this advanced project for years and Samsung's business strategic team is now saying it's just around the corner. To better understand the scope of this massive project, you could review four other major Samsung patents regarding future folding devices and their unique features here: One, two, three and four.
Samsung, like any other technology company, could end-up combining any of the features that they've invented over the years and over a wide body of work. In this case Samsung could combine any of the features from the patents noted above to arrive at a final single product.
Of course Samsung isn't alone in trying to develop and bring a smartphone with a dual display to market. LG filed for a patent for such an invention back in 2013 with the angle of delivering live on-the-go TV services. Microsoft is also on record with a 2014 patent for a dual display smartphone.
Yet at the end of the day, it's Samsung that has more in-depth patents on record for such a device and is the only one that has given us a rough deliver time frame between late 2015 to late 2016 as to when we could expect to see this come to market. Failing to deliver on their promise to the top U.S. financial analysts would shake investor confidence and that's the last thing Samsung needs at this shaky point in time.
Samsung's introduction of their Galaxy Note with an S Pen provided Samsung with a lead over Apple's iPhone. The current Galaxy S6 Edge, while applauded for its redesign has yet been unable to overtake the popular iPhone.
A quick shift of taking the Samsung Note to the next level with a dual display design in a timely manner would be able to provide Samsung with a clear edge over the iPhone if the product is just right. Meaning that it'll have to be slim when folded, easy to open and close, deliver a live TV streaming service taking advantage of the dual display when open, and create enough unique apps that will lure consumers to their advanced hardware. That's not going to be an easy task. Yet if they succeed by combining the ideas found in their four patents, they just may be able to deliver the smartphone industry's next game-changer.
Finally, the Galaxy Note could be what it was always meant to be: the ultimate portable Note-Book.
Samsung filed their U.S. patent application back in Q4 2013. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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