Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a Samsung granted patent relating to a scrollable display device that includes a flexible display panel that could be scrolled up for retraction into a housing and unscrolled for use in a flat configuration. This is considered a next generation display device that could provide consumers with a compact form factor. The invention is deadly focused on the mechanics of the scrollable display design and doesn't veer off to discuss any wireless capability. Therefore the design could either be a tablet and/or a smartphone. For now Samsung keeps a little mystery as to the final design.
Samsung notes that "One inventive aspect is a display device having a flexible display panel that can be maintained to be substantially flat when the flexible display panel is unrolled.
Another aspect is a display device including a flexible display panel; a jig connected to one end of the flexible display panel and having an outer circumferential surface on which the flexible display panel is rolled there around; a handle connected to the other end of the flexible display panel; a housing accommodating the flexible display panel rolled around the jig; and a support unit interposed between the handle and the housing, wherein the support unit includes: a frame guide having at least a track groove on at least a surface of the frame guide; and a support frame having one end rotatably coupled to the handle or the housing and the other end slidably coupled to the track groove of the frame guide to move there along."
Samsung's patent FIGS. 16 and 17 below are schematic perspective views illustrating a sequential process in which a flexible display panel of a display device is unrolled
Samsung's FIG. 5 above is a schematic cross-sectional view illustrating an example in which a flexible display panel of a display device is fully unrolled.
The thing about patents is that when creating a new device there are several teams working on different aspects of it. Sometimes there are even competing engineering teams working on the same invention-type filing patents at different times so at no time is a competitor able to see the entire game plan.
In the latter patent we're shown how a menu could be viewed from the exterior of the device as noted below. This way the user chooses an app before unrolling the display. By the time the screen is scrolled out, the app they want is already to use. The menu in the patent illustrated icons for mail, news, apps, movies, games and even a phone/contact list, proving one design could end up being a niche smartphone.
Today's granted patent for a scrollable device is one of the most elaborate and detailed to date. Samsung filed for this patent in the U.S. on May 20, 2015.
Last month Patently Mobile posted a report titled "Samsung Patents reveal a new Foldable Smartphone Mechanism and a new Scrollable TV." This goes to show you that their engineers are currently working on several possible future designs for scrollable displays at one time.
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