Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a newly granted patent for Samsung that relates to an exotic smartphone design based on a metal roll frame with a slide out flexible display. This past November we posted a report titled "Interesting Samsung Smartphone Concept Form Factors Surface in New Patent Filing," wherein this scroll styled smartphone was highlighted. It's evident that Samsung is quite serious about this form factor as they now have several patents supporting it. It's a basic design that has been seen in Sci-Fi TV shows like Earth Final Conflict for years. Whether such a high-fashion smartphone would be able to make a dent in today's smartphone market and particularly against rivals such as Apple is unknown at this time.
As display-related technology has been developed, flexible displays that can be folded or rolled in the form of a roll have been developed. Organic light-emitting displays have superior characteristics, such as wide viewing angles, excellent contrast, short response times, low power consumption, and the like. The scope of applications from personal portable devices, such as MP3 players, mobile phones, and the like, to TVs has increased. Organic light-emitting displays have self-light-emitting characteristics, and thus, do not require an additional light source. As such, their thickness and weight can be reduced.
Today's granted patent specifically relates to a flexible display device including a flexible display panel, a plurality of supports on a first surface of the flexible display panel, the supports being spaced apart from each other, and an actuator on the first surface of the flexible display panel as noted in patent FIG. 6 below.
The actuators (#220) noted above are shown to be positioned between the supports (#210). The actuator includes an electroactive polymer layer, and a first electrode layer and a second electrode layer that are respectively arranged on an upper surface and a lower surface of the electroactive polymer layer, and the actuator having a property such that when a voltage is applied to the first electrode layer and the second electrode layer, an area of the electroactive polymer layer is changed. When the voltage is applied to the first electrode layer and the second electrode layer, the area of the electroactive polymer layer may be increased such that the electroactive polymer layer contacts side walls of the supports.
Samsung's granted patent is soley focused on the mechanics of the design and not about any particular applications that it may support beyond what is familiar on any Galaxy smartphone today.
Samsung's granted patent was originally filed in Q4 2012 and published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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