A new Samsung patent that has been published by the US Patent & Trademark Office reveals an invention that will allow users to take a digital photo or graphic of their choosing and electronically wrap it around their entire device. Users will also be able to change the design at any time of their choosing. This will all be done via a smart device-skin or film layer that's associated within the device's display unit. Samsung appears to be so confident that this will become the next consumer crazy, that they're even considering a retail version of this smart device-skin to be sold as an accessory at retail stores for older Samsung smartphones. Today's interesting patent presents us with the basics of the smart device-skin concept. But we also present you with a video that will illustrate where this concept could actually be going in the future. It's a concept that could one day change how we interact with our devices and it's certainly a wild one.
Samsung's Patent Overview
Samsung's present invention relates to image output of a mobile terminal. More particularly, the present invention relates to a mobile terminal and an image display method for the same wherein particular images could be displayed in a more organized manner using not only the display unit but also the whole space of a specific surface of the mobile terminal.
This translates to images on your display being able to extend to a bezel (should there be one), the sides and full backside of the mobile terminal such as a smartphone or tablet.
In an existing mobile terminal, the display unit has size limitations, and screen images may only be output within the display unit. Hence, it is necessary to develop a means for displaying images in a more organic and sensible manner through utilization of an available space of the mobile terminal.
The Intricacies of the New Mobile Terminal
In accordance with an aspect of Samsung's invention, a mobile terminal for supporting image display is provided. The terminal includes a display unit for outputting images according to an operation of the mobile terminal, an exterior case for enclosing the display unit, a film layer arranged so as to cover the display unit and the exterior case which includes an image printed in an area thereof excluding a region corresponding to the display unit.
In an exemplary embodiment of Samsung's invention, the mobile terminal (which is a device such as a smartphone or tablet) is designed so that the screen image on the display may be combined with the image arranged on the film layer (seen as #170 on Patent figures below). During utilization on the mobile terminal, the user may view the screen image displayed on their display and the image arranged on the film layer as a single connected image. Hence, the user may view images in a more extended space and intuitively understand the meaning of the images (see #140 on Patent FIG. 2).
The Smart Device-Skin as an Accessory
In the example above, Samsung envisions this to be a built-in feature for some future devices. Though interestingly enough they do in fact discuss bringing this to market as an accessory for older devices, as outlined below.
In respect to the smart device-skin (technically referred to as a "film layer") being sold as an accessory, Samsung states that when the user purchases a film layer retail card (shown as patent point #180 of FIG. 2 above), the user may separate the film layer from the card and attach it to the front surface of their mobile device. Here, the film layer is arranged so that the edge of it is aligned with the front surface of the mobile device. The protective film zone (171 of FIG 2) is matched with the region for the display and the hole of the film layer (175) which is matched up with the camera module (190).
Setting Up the Smart Device-Skin
Samsung illustrates setting up the device-skin (or film layer) on a device will include a user interface with input fields for image settings and activation. What isn't shown in figure 3 is a details interface that Samsung simply describes as being an "output map." Although this is extremely vague, it would appear that this output map is to assist the user to fine-tune their home screen with the smart device-skin so that your entire smart phone, front and back are perfectly aligned and coordinated.
A Concept Video
Although Nokia's visionary video takes the smart device-skin to yet a higher level than Samsung's patent, where the entire device skin is touch-interactive, it nonetheless provides you with a basic overview of Samsung's idea and where it could eventually go over time. I think that this very cool idea could indeed come to market one day and perhaps even sooner than most might think.
Samsung's System Overview
Samsung's Patent FIG.1 provides an overview of the proposed smart Device-Skin system. Note that Patent Bolt cleaned up two graphics relating to the "Storage Unit" and added highlighting for emphasis. We didn't change any of the original verbiage.
Samsung's patent application was originally filed in Q3 2011 and made public in Q1 2012. A note to referring sites: We ask that referring sites restrict the use of our graphics to a single image for their reports. Thank you.
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Here are a Few Sites covering our Original Report
MacSurfer, Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, gopego Indonesia, Engadget Spain, BGR, Android Life, Android and Me,TechBlog German, Talk Android, phoneArena UK, All About Samsung Germany, Netbooknews Germany, Tinh te Vietnam, Androidhas Arabic (nice graphic image of concept), Gadget Report Romania, Matuk Spanish, Mobile Entertainment, BGR Germany, PCR, Conecti Mexico, Target HD Portuguese, BestBoyZ Germany, Tecnologia21 Peru, and more.