There have been so many flexible display patent applications over the past few months from Samsung that we recently opened a dedicated flexible display Archive to make it easier for fans to search. Within that group there have been at least two flexible display patents that have specifically discussed scrollable display configurations. The first was published back in October and the second in December. Last week Samsung published yet another flexible display patent covering another scrollable design. The difference this time around is that they connect the scrollable functionality to a modern Galaxy smartphone-like form factor. In addition, Samsung introduces us to the chameleonic form factor concept.
The Standard Samsung Foldable Display
As previously illustrated in other Samsung patents, FIG. 36A shown below illustrates a flexible display apparatus which includes a body (#3600), a flexible display and a grip unit. Samsung states that the body may serve as a kind of a case containing the flexible display. If the flexible display apparatus includes various elements as illustrated in FIG. 36, elements other than the flexible display and some sensors may be mounted in the body. The body 3600 includes a rotary roller (not illustrated) to roll the flexible display. Accordingly, when not in use, the flexible display is rolled about the rotary roller and embedded in the body.
Samsung further notes that the body may include a power supply by using a battery connector (not illustrated) on which a disposable battery is mounted, a secondary cell (not illustrated) which can be charged and used multiple times by the user, and a solar cell (not illustrated) which generates electricity using solar heat.
What's new for the rollable display this time around is that it's reflecting a more Galaxy smartphone-like form factor as shown below in patent FIG. 36B.
Bending the Device Changes its Functionality
Samsung's patent FIG. 38 noted below is a view illustrating a flexible display apparatus 200 of a 3-dimensional structure rather than a flat panel structure. In this example, the device's flexible display (#210) is illustrated on one side of the device while a speaker, microphone and an IR lamp (not illustrated) may be provided on the flipside.
A whole outer case (#201) or a part (#202) of the outer case of the flexible display apparatus illustrated in patent FIG. 38 is made of rubber or other polymer resins, and is flexibly bendable. Accordingly, the whole flexible display apparatus or a part of the flexible display apparatus may have flexibility.
Samsung notes that if the flexible display apparatus is bent, a new operation which is different from a previous operation may be performed. For example, if the flexible display apparatus usually performs a remote control function to control an external apparatus, it may perform a telephone function when a bending gesture is performed on a certain region. A remote control button (not illustrated) may be displayed on the flexible display when the remote control function is performed, and a dial pad (#216) may be displayed on the flexible display if the telephone function is performed.
The Chameleonic Design
Samsung's patent FIGS. 39A-C shown below illustrate a circular type flexible display apparatus 300 having a flexible display 310. Accordingly, a visually or functionally different operation may be performed according to an orientation of the flexible display apparatus or a shape in which the flexible display apparatus is bent. For instance, if the flexible display apparatus lies horizontally as illustrated in FIG. 39A, photos or other content may be displayed. If the flexible display apparatus stands in an upright position as illustrated in FIG. 39B, then a clock function may be performed. If a center of the flexible display apparatus is bent by 90 degree as illustrated in FIG. 39C, then a notebook PC function may be performed. In this case, a soft keyboard may be displayed one of the folded regions and a display window may be displayed the other region. Besides the exemplary embodiments described herein, the flexible display apparatus may be embodied in various forms.
Samsung filed their patent application in the U.S. back in Q3 2013 and a year earlier in Korea. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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