Tag Archives: patent

Samsung Gets Patent for Multi Folding Tablet With Physical Keyboard

By Radu Iorga

Samsung received a fresh patent this week, one that involves the usual folding tablet, but this time with a twist: a physical keyboard. We’ve seen multiple foldable devices patented by Samsung, some linked to the Samsung Galaxy X project, others not. But the keyboard is a new approach….

Sammy already has a multi fold patent under its belt ever since September 2016. This time it gets a patent for a next gen device, that folds its keyboard below the screen part, at the back side of one of the folding panels. Samsung has yet to launch a proper foldable device, even though they’ve been exploring the segment ever since the Youm prototype at CES, more than 4 years ago.

To me this looks more like a MID, a small Vaio, or something like that, not exactly a futuristic machine. You could get more use out of a tablet keyboard dock or a case with a keyboard integrated. Having a physical keyboard on a tablet, even if foldable doesn’t make much sense anymore, for ergonomical reasons, battery reasons and also for the sake of a pretty looking design.

It’s true that convertibles and detachables do have keyboards, but they aren’t the pinnacle or ergonomics or aesthetics. A touch keyboard makes more sense for foldables. Also, word through the grapevine says that Samsung is going to adopt a Snapdragon CPU on a future Windows on ARM device.

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Samsung Patents Dual Expandable Display Smartphone, Potential Galaxy X

By Radu Iorga

Both Samsung and Microsoft have been exploring multiple formats for their foldable phones, that should be coming over the next year or so. While the dual display approach seemed like the way to go, the companies also explored multiple hinge setups. Now we see Samsung patenting a dual expandable screen approach.

At the core sits a relatively thick device, that has has handles/edges which are expanded to the sides in order to triple the screen estate. You just pull out the retractable sides and gain slim scroll-like extra screens. A fixed display sits at the center, while there are also two side ones. We also get to see a section of the device, with the extra screen overlapping and a big circular mechanism that may help it fold all around it.

It reminds me of a projector screen if you want a comparison. The roller housing sounds like a good idea at first, but in the long run it’s prone to fragility. Such an expandable screen would be useful for watching TV shows, movies, gaming and work. The appeal is that there’s no more hinge to create a seam in the image and things feel more unified. This is a mere patent and concept, so I wouldn’t bank on it.

Imagine if dirt, the odd peanut or something else got stuck in the “scroll”… You’d end up paying hundreds of dollars for repairs and lose one third of the screen. Sounds like a no no to me.

 

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Microsoft Patents Transparent Surface Dial

By Radu Iorga

Remember the Surface Dial? It’s a tool for creative types, like a rotary dial which is used for graphics and design purposes. It’s priced at $99 and lets you trigger tools in Photoshop, enlarge or resize screen items, plus more. Now there’s a new version brewing, according to a freshly leaked patent. Let’s check it out.

It seems we are dealing with a transparent Surface Dial here, that has been patented by Microsoft recently. The original unit was a sort of hockey puck shaped unit, but this new one with its transparency may increase the ease of use and functionality. The first unit was able to rotate, zoom in and generally provide multi model input. Usually it pairs up with a pen and hand gestures on a larger touchscreen.

The new patent proposes a partially transparent Surface Dial accessory, with an image transfer structure, that relays or transfers the content on the touch display to the top side of the Dial. This device will have a capacitive marker, which can be recognized by the touch display and it will visually present the content aligned with the image transfer structure from the Dial accessory.

For me the most useful part of this is graphics editing. Imagine drawing a game character and being able to zoom in on him, while using the transparent Dial as a magnifying glass of sorts and tweaking each beard hair of the character for example. Pretty cool, right? Use cases are endless and this may just start a trend with transparent accessories. I can also envision this being used in medicine somehow, on digital patient charts.

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Apple Prepares Wider Trackpad for MacBooks, Gets Patent for Hover Detection, New Sensors

By Radu Iorga

Apple just patented yet another piece of technology related to its portable machines, this time the MacBooks. It refers to wider trackpads for the laptops, also hover detection and sensor arrays. It all comes from the US Patent and Trademark Office, so it’s as legit as it gets.

The idea of a wider trackpad has been discussed a lot and Huawei for example bragged about its MateBook X Pro laptop for having a very big trackpad. Apple has been working on this for 14 years, so there’s no reason to hype it up more. Various versions of the inventions popped up in 2007, 2012 and 2016. Even in 2004 they were working on this.

Now they are shown to be adding new technology to the project. A whole new sensor array is detailed, as associated with the wide trackpad and being able to control different operational states. This may related to switching between an original power consumption state and a second power consumption state.

 

Sadly, the documents are rather complex and written in specific terms. What’s certain is that Apple is mentioning proximity sensors and sensors in general, which could detect hovering. To me this contradicts the idea of a bigger trackpad. If you’ve got gestures, why expand the touch area!? It makes sense to let the hands move in front of a camera or sensors and ditch the trackpad alltogether.

You could even make the whole inner section of the laptop touch sensitive or 3D mapped for detection.

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Apple Patents New Lightning Connector, Able to Expand and Seal Devices Against Liquids

By Radu Iorga

Today’s Apple patent leak has to do with a Lightning connector of all things. Very few companies can claim Apple’s record: using the same connector on a phone for 5-6 years, Lightning in this case. It’s high time for an upgrade and the new patent seems to show a slight format change.

We seem to be dealing with a connector tip that can expand in order to seal a device against spills and liquids. It all comes from the US Patent and Trademark Office, who published the patent application from Apple. It relates to a new generation of Lightning connector that can expand when connected to an iDevice in order to create a liquid tight seal.

Sealing devices against liquids seems logical nowadays, when people use their tablets and phones everywhere, including in the bathtub or in the proximity of pools. Plus we have the usual scenario of spilling a coffee or tea on an iDevice. Liquid and debris may also damage connectors, so that’s another reason to upgrade the connector. Apple’s invention relates to electrical hookup mechanisms, that have one or more gaskets or seals in order to prevent moisture from reaching the connector or the actual device.

The seal may be put on the connector plug or within the device, so the liquid tight seal is formed when the connector plug is mated with the device. I noticed that the result is a sloped and sharper tip, compared to the usual flat one. It’s like a torpedo or small dome in format. The documents speak about an enlarged bulbous cross section and a deformable seal material, that may act as a liquid tight seal.

The patent dates from Q1 2017 and it may or may not be applied this year.

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