Several Samsung mobile device-related patent applications surfaced at the US Patent & Trademark Office earlier this month that are noteworthy. The first one covers a new hybrid smartphone and tablet case that could uniquely double as a stand or cradle. The case's design uses a magnetic substance that supports the device when used as a stand. The second invention relates to a method of manufacturing thinner displays that could match the current iPhone. The third and final invention illustrates that Samsung is considering a retractable external antenna for future smartphones that could provide stronger reception.
Overview of Device Cases & Cradles
A case for carrying cosmetic products has already come into wide use for many, many years, and recently, men and women of all ages carry portable terminals, such as portable phones, portable game players, portable multimedia devices, table Personal Computers (PCs), or the like. The market for cases that protect portable terminals from shocks or scratches is expanding constantly.
A portable terminal such as a portable phone is used not only for a communication function, but also as fashion accessory for expressing a user's individuality. Beyond the casing, consumers purchase separate docking stations and/or cradles. Consumers utilizing a protection cover and a separate cradle often separate a portable terminal from the protection cover to the cradle and vice versa.
Samsung Invents a Hybrid Protective Case & Stand
Samsung's invention is to provide a protective cover which could be conveniently used to both protect and cradle a portable terminal. It could also provide consumers with the ability to adjust the inclination of a portable device.
Samsung states that the protective cover includes a rear cover having a surface of which the portable terminal can be removeably mounted on and removed therefrom. The protective cover may further include at least one or more hooks provided on a surface of the rear cover to bind the portable terminal to the rear cover.
The protective cover may further include an inner skin portion and an outer skin portion made of leather or leather-like material. It may further include silicon based frames or boards interposed between the inner skin portion and the outer skin portion in the portions for forming the rear cover and the front cover. In this particular case, the protection cover may further include at least one hook provided on a surface of the rear cover to bind the portable terminal to the rear cover, in which the hooks are formed integrally with the frames or boards.
Samsung's Cover Doubles as a Stand or Cradle
As we see in Patent FIG.4 below, a device's protective cover 100 is structured such that a front cover 102 is pivotally coupled to a rear cover 101. The portable device is mountable on and removable from the rear cover. The front cover pivots to a predetermined angle. Samsung's Patent FIG. 5 is a view showing a state in which an inclination angle of the portable terminal shown in FIG. 4 is adjusted.
Samsung's Leather Cases will utilize stiff Frames or Boards
When the rear cover 101 and the front cover 102 are made of leather and the connection member 103 is made of silicon as shown above, a member made of silicon 263, may be provided to connect the frames or boards 261 and 262 to be disposed inside the rear cover and the front cover, The protection cover may include frames or boards interposed between the inner skin portion and the outer skin portion in the portions for forming the rear cover and the front cover.
Samsung's Alternative Design Includes Corners Utilizing a Magnetic Substance
Samsung's patent FIGS. 9 and 10 shown above illustrate a protective cover 200 for a portable device that is different from the protection cover 100 of FIG. 1. Protective cover 200 doesn't' use a separate binding member. In this case, a front cover and hooks 211 formed on a rear cover 201 stick to each other by using a magnetic substance, thereby maintaining a closed state of the portable device bound to the rear cover 201. In this case, a rubber magnet may be used for the magnetic substance. In this case, the protective cover could be manufactured from a single material in a single body.
Samsung original patent application was originally filed in Q3 2011 in the US but was filed in Q4 2010 in Korea.
Samsung Designs Thinner Display for Future Smartphones
The good news is that Samsung's Invention to create a thinner design will allow them to catch up with Apple iPhone 4S, as it uses an Optically Clear Adhesive (OCA) as noted in patent FIG. 2. The bad news however, is that Apple is abandoning this construction design for a new in-cell design from companies such as Toshiba Mobile Display, Sharp and LG Display. To view Samsung's invention, see patent application 20120086669.
Samsung Thinks there's a Place in the Market for Smartphones with an Extendable Antenna
Samsung is thinking of introducing antennas that could extend outside of the smartphone's casing for better reception when needed. Samsung's invention relates to an antenna device that will improve radiation performance of an external monopole antenna whose radiation performance deteriorates when inserted or retracted inside a smartphone or other portable terminal.
Samsung's patent FIG. 2 is an exemplary embodiment of the present invention which operates as an external monopole antenna when the bar antenna 25 is extended so as to be outside of the smartphone.
The antenna device 300 in patent FIG. 3 allows for the bar antenna 320 to protrude to the outside of the portable terminal so as to operate as an external monopole antenna. In addition, the antenna device allows for the bar antenna to be inserted into the inside of the portable terminal so as to operate as the PIFA antenna.
If Samsung could design this right, they may gain market share – as many people complain of poor antenna performance with hidden antenna designs these days.
Samsung's patent application was filed in the US in Q3 2011 and originally filed in Korea Q4 2010.
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