The war between Samsung and Apple is heading to court at the end of the month and the two are presently going head to head in the smartphone market. Apple reported 26 million iPhones sold last quarter and Samsung is currently prorating at about 17-18 million units if sales of their new Galaxy S III remain as strong as they have been. Apple's new iPhone 5 is due out in September and Hon Hai's chairman Terry Gou told China Times last month that Apple's new iPhone 5 "will put Samsung's Galaxy S III to Shame." Wars can get ugly no doubt, but in this case, it could actually benefit consumers. In this war, it's pushing both sides of the battle to bring cooler and cooler features to market every year. As an Intellectual Property centric blog, both Patent Bolt and Patently Apple get to explore many of the technologies and patents that these companies are filing with the US Patent Office every week. Suffice it to say that the mobile revolution is alive and well with exciting innovation around every corner. Today is no exception with the revelation that Samsung is working on both perfecting the audio experience in future smartphones as well as introduce an optional 3D interface for portable devices. Considering that Samsung has already taken a leadership position with 3D TV, it's pretty clear that Samsung has the engineering prowess to bring a 3D interface to the mobile space. Could this be a killer app for Samsung? Only time will tell.
Samsung Aims to Perfect the Personal Sound Zone
Samsung has Invented a technology for creating a personal sound zone which enables delivery of a sound to only a designated listener without dedicated devices such as an earphone or a headset, without inducing noise to other people around the listener. Directivity of a sound generated by driving a plurality of sound transducers may be used to create the personal sound zone. One of Samsung's latest patents introduces us to their new "Control Signal Generation Unit" in patent FIG. 1 below that was designed to pull off this audio magic.
Generating a Sound Beam
In Samsung's patent FIG. 12 below, they show us that directivity in a horizontal direction may be enhanced by a broadside array configured to generate a sound beam perpendicularly to the arrangement direction of one array, that is, the arrangement of the at least three transducers, in the personal audio device. Also, back radiation may be controlled by forming the end-fire array by arranging at least two arrays in the sound beam generation direction on the front and the back of the personal audio device.
In Samsung's patent FIG. 11, the array unit is seen to have been designed to generate a sound beam having directivity according to input of a control signal including multi-channels. The array unit may include at least two arrays, each of which may include at least three transducers.
Samsung states that the array unit may be configured in a manner that a front array disposed on a front side and a back array disposed on a back side are directed opposite from each. Also, the front array and back array may each include four sound transducers as shown in FIG. 11D above.
Being able to listen to your music in a personal sound zone while still being able to hear what's around you has its appeal. While that won't be to everyone's liking, it'll at least provide users with a new audio listening option – and who could say no to that?
Samsung's patent was originally filed in Q3 2011 and published in Q2 2012 by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Samsung's Vision for a 3D Display for Portable Devices
Samsung's second invention in review generally relates to a three dimensional (3D) image display, and more particularly, to a 3D display terminal apparatus which displays a plurality of objects with different degrees of perceived depths in a 3D display manner, and enables operation of the displayed objects by touch, and an operating method thereof.
Samsung's 3D terminal apparatus includes a converting unit which adjusts the degree of perceived depth of a selected object from among the plurality of objects if one object is selected from the plurality of objects, and a control unit which perceives a user's manipulation according to a plurality of touch modes that perceive touches of different depths corresponding to the degrees of perceived depths of the respective objects, and controls the display unit and the converting unit to change display states of the objects.
The 3D display terminal apparatus may additionally include a first sensor unit which detects a direct touch by which a screen of the display unit is directly touched, and a second sensor unit which detects a "near touch" by which a touch is made within a predetermined distance range to the screen of the display unit as shown in patent FIG. 3 below.
According to Samsung's filing, the display terminal apparatus of Patent FIG. 2 may be implemented in a mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet PC, laptop, eBook, MP3 player, electronic frame or television.
The converting unit 120 noted in patent FIG. 2 above adjusts the degree of perceived depth of a selected object (such as an on-screen icon) if the object is selected from among the objects displayed on the screen by the display unit 110. The degree of perceived depth refers to a degree by which the object appears to protrude or sink with respect to the plane of the screen.
Samsung's filing reveals that they're considering two ways of implementing 3D on a display. The first would include a method of 3D viewing straight from the glass while the second would use a non-glass methodology requiring the use of 3D glasses. Using 3D glasses may work fine for an HDTV at home but wouldn't really be practical for use with a future Galaxy smartphone, for instance, while you're on the go. If you're asking the question "Will 3D really work without glasses?" The answer is a resounding yes. Take a look at the video below which demonstrates a similar technology approach to 3D viewing on a portable device. It's really quite impressive if you've never seen it before.
Samsung's patent FIG. 5 shown above illustrates a difference between display states of the objects with varying degrees of depth and corresponding touching method.
Adjusting Perceived Depth
In Samsung's patent FIG. 4 shown below we see a content screen (200) containing at least one object (10), in this case a photo, displayed on the 3D display terminal apparatus 100. When the user selects the photo the degree of perceived depth of the selected object is adjusted, as shown in the middle graphic below.
Samsung's patent FIG. 4 particularly illustrates an example in which a 3D image (20) protrudes out from the content screen in a vertical direction while the text lines remain the same size. This could be handy if one of your icons on your home screen is an important document that you wish to review at a meeting. You'll be able to simply touch the document and expand it to fill the screen of your tablet or notebook or to the scale that you need it to be without distorting the entire home page.
Of course Samsung, like many other tech companies, keep their patent examples to a minimum so as to be able to surprise the market with some cool new features when it arrives. For now, we see that Samsung's experience with HDTV 3D may one day be extended through to their full range of portable computers for both entertainment and every day PDA and smartphone functionality. This could very well end up being a killer app for Samsung if they get it just right. Time will tell.
Samsung's 3D related patent application was originally filed in Q4 2011 and published by the US Patent and Trademark Office in Q2 2012.
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