This week the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from LG that reveals a possible future smartphone with a multifunctional backside control button. Depending on the type of app that is running on the smartphone, the backside control button will automatically adjust accordingly. It could be to turn a TV channel, raise the volume of a video or scroll through a webpage and more.
LG Invents a Smartphone with a Multifunctional Backside Control Button
LG's invention details a future smartphone enabling a new type of user input different from the related art. The invention minimizes the number of physical controls on the smartphone's face.
Jumping right into LG's invention we're able to see patent FIG. 2B below which illustrates a future smartphone with a new multifunctional backside button. In one scenario, when the user drags their finger on the backside button #232 they're able to scroll through a webpage on the front side display.
In patent FIG 2C noted above, the user presses the very same backside button using it as the smartphone's Home Button.
LG's patent FIG. 3B noted below is a rear perspective view of a possible future smartphone with a backside control button; FIG. 5 represents an exploded view of the control button assembly.
LG's patent FIG. 8A noted below illustrates the backside control button used as a simple "on and off" power switch if pressed firmly. An alternative is illustrated further below in FIG. 11B where the control button is a slider button where the up position is to lock it and the bottom position is to unlock it. Noted in patent FIG. 10C we see that when a music app is playing, the control button becomes a volume controller. Further, If a video is playing, the button will act as a forward, backward and pause controller.
When a phone call comes in, the control button allows the user to quickly answer or end a call as shown in patent FIG. 11C below.
In respect to patent FIG. 13 noted above, LG notes that "when the display module and the rear input unit are dragged in opposite directions, an image output on the display module may rotate along the dragging direction. With the image rotating, a two-dimensional (2D) image may be converted into a three-dimensional (3D) image."
This particular smartphone is noted in the patent filing as having the ability to broadcast television programing in additon to containing a programming guide. It will utilize known supporting standards such as DMB-T, DVB-H and others. In that light, the backside control button would likely be used to change channels and/or adjust the volume.
LG leaves the door open as to what kind of display this new phone will use as they list LCD, OLDED, TOLED and a 3D display.
LG filed their patent application with UPSTO in January 2013 and with the Korean Patent Office in July 2012. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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