May 14, 2018

Samsung granted new patents for foldable design and transparent screen

Samsung moves a step closer to producing a foldable handset with the grant of a new patent. The patent describes the ways to fold the handset horizontally along with mentioning a unique hinge, which is equipped to decipher the touch of a sensor. Besides the foldable phone patent, Samsung is also granted a patent for a transparent display.

Samsung's quest for a foldable smartphone began as early as 2011 when it first showed off foldable prototypes at the CES in that year. But launching a truly foldable smartphone isn't as easy as we imagine. There is much complexity involved in achieving it. This is the reason why we haven't seen a consumer-ready foldable phone from the company as yet.

However, the South Korean giant over the years has done a great deal of research in this field which is reflected in a string of patents awarded to the company for its much-avowed foldable smartphone.

The latest patent for a foldable phone design has been awarded by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patent is distinct in the manner that it shows a phone that can be folded horizontally, whereas a previous patent talked about different ways of folding the handset.

Though the image shows the phone in a landscape mode, an extra hinge will allow the handset to be propped up vertically in portrait mode as well. Once the phone is folded it completely shuts down and when it is opened up it automatically gets turned on.

The hinge used is of a special nature which can read the touch of a sensor. There is a deformation sensor which keeps track of the instances and method of folding the handset alongside the grip sensors used for maintaining the counts of gripping the handset by a user.

The patent drawings suggest a dynamic interface which keeps the icons moving depending on how the device is folded. In case of a slight bend in the middle, the icons move to the edges held by the user. This is designed for a quick and seamless interaction between the user and the device.

In addition to the foldable patent, Samsung has also been awarded a patent for a transparent smartphone display. However, the real benefits of a transparent display are not clear as of now. This might facilitate better integration of AR technology, which may eventually eschew the use of the camera, necessary for seeing through the real world backgrounds.

This is, however, a futuristic idea, which might take years to be translated into reality. As for the foldable phone, Samsung intends to launch it next year. Worth remembering is that LG and Apple are also in the fray to launch their foldable smartphones. With the bezel-less displays currently ruling the roost, a trend of foldable display phones next year will undoubtedly be a welcome change.