In 2012 Patently Mobile was known as 'Patent Bolt' and it was in that year that we began covering Samsung's inventions regarding foldable smartphones and tablets. Our patent report today marks the forty-seventh Samsung flexible display / foldable / scrollable invention that we've covered over the last four and half years. But truth be told, Samsung has been working on this idea since at least 2008. In January 2009 Samsung showcased their initial concept of the folding smartphone to the public at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas as noted in the video below. So could Samsung be getting any closer to bringing this concept to market? Industry experts point to 2018 or 2019 when the display technology will finally allow foldable and scrollable devices to come to market. Today we cover one of Samsung's last two patents of 2016 on the topic of foldable / scrollable devices.
Samsung's first patent abstract states that "A foldable device includes: a display; a touch panel configured to detect a touch input; a sensing interface configured to detect an angle of the foldable device; and a controller configured to activate the display unit when the angle detected by the sensing unit as the foldable device is unfolded is equal to or greater than a first angle, and activate the touch panel when the angle detected by the sensing unit is equal to or greater than a second angle."
Another focus of this invention is adding security biometric authentication features. The foldable or scrollable devices won't be able to physically unfold or scroll out until user biometric authentication has been achieved.
Samsung's patent FIG. 12 noted below illustrates when fingerprint authentication is being performed, a fingerprint image i16 may be displayed and move on the display unit until fingerprint recognition is completed.
According to Samsung, the biometric information is not limited to the fingerprint information and the iris information (you'll see further below in other Samsung patent figures), and may include voice information, face information, palm line information, vein distribution information, retina information, movement pattern information, such as walking style information, ECG information, and/or palm print information.
In Samsung's patent FIG. 15 noted below we're able to see an example in which the fingerprint recognizing sensor is disposed in an edge display surface s5. In another example, the edge display surface s5 may be provided at one corner surface of the foldable device or may be exposed even when the foldable device is folded (see FIG. 16) and/or unfolded.
The edge display surface s5 may also be a display region provided on an extending line of a display surface externally exposed while the foldable device is unfolded and curved at least a predetermined angle.
As shown in FIG. 15, when it is determined that user authentication has succeeded through fingerprint recognition while the foldable device is unfolded to within a predetermined angle range, the foldable device is released from the lock state and the pre-set wallpaper may be displayed.
Further, in Samsung's patent FIG. 16 noted above, we're able to see an example in which the iris recognizing camera is disposed on an upper housing rear surface s7 of the foldable device. Also, the fingerprint recognizing sensor may be disposed on a lower housing top surface side region s6.
According to an exemplary embodiment, user authentication may be performed while the foldable device is folded. For example, fingerprint authentication may be performed when the user contacts a finger on the fingerprint recognizing sensor while the foldable device is folded. Here, the foldable device may obtain an eye image of the user through the iris recognizing camera and perform iris authentication.
Samsung's Scrollable Mobile Device
As with their foldable devices, Samsung is now advancing their scrollable device, which they first introduced back in 2015, with both an iris and fingerprint scanner as noted in the patent figures below.
Samsung expands the labeling and nature of such future devices to go beyond being a smartphone or tablet. Samsung notes that these devices could also be configured to represent "a digital broadcasting terminal; a navigation device, a digital TV or all-in-one desktop. While the Digital TV sounds weird, it could be a mobile version of the foldable in-home wide screen foldable TV as we covered back in November 2016.
Random Points from the Patent Filing
The display could be an active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AM-OLED), a plasma display panel (PDP), a flexible display, a 3-dimensional (3D) display, and an electrophoretic display, etc. Also, the display unit may be transparent and/or wearable.
A sensor on both designs will allow for the use of a stylus in addition to touch.
A tuner unit may receive a broadcasting signal in a frequency band corresponding to a channel number (e.g., a cable channel number) according to a user input. The tuner unit may receive a broadcasting signal from any one of various sources, such as terrestrial broadcasting, cable broadcasting, satellite broadcasting, and internet broadcasting, etc.
The controller may transmit/receive content to/from the external device, download an application from the external device, and/or browse the Internet.
The communicator may include at least one of a wireless local area network (LAN), Bluetooth, and wired Ethernet, based on performance and a structure of the foldable device. The communicator may include any combination of the wireless LAN, the Bluetooth, and the wired Ethernet.
The communicator may include a Bluetooth low energy (BLE) communicator, a near field communication unit, a WLAN (Wi-Fi) communicator, a Zigbee communicator, an infrared data association (IrDA) communicator, a Wi-Fi direct (WFD) communicator, an ultra-wideband (UWB) communicator, and an Ant+communicator, but is not limited thereto.
The communicator may transmit and receive a wireless signal to and from at least one of a base station, an external terminal, and a server on a mobile communication network. A wireless signal may include various types of data according to transmission and reception of a voice call signal, an image call signal, and/or a text/multimedia message.
A Note for Tech Sites covering our Report: We ask tech sites covering our report to kindly limit the use of our graphics to one image. Thanking you in advance for your cooperation.
Samsung only filed their patent application back in August 2016. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
The last foldable device patent for 2016 will likely be posted on Patently Mobile next weekend.
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