In the never ending battle to “flex” their display muscles, Samsung filed four more U.S. Patents according to our friends at Patent Bolt – ideas that may never come to fruition, but will become “property” of Samsung’s patent portfolio. It is very clear from these patents that Samsung is stretching the imagination and capabilities of a true “flexible” screen, that can be bent and even twisted. Up until now, displays in actual production are merely ones that are curved from side-to-side, like their Samsung Galaxy Round, which is already in limited production in Korea for testing purposes, or the announced LG G Flex that is curved from top-to-bottom.
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The above diagram of one of the patents, show a “what if” scenario – Is Bend Sensed? If so, Determine That Bend is Unintended…and so on. In other words, the bending motion can be used as a means of input to allow the user to make certain selections, based on the bending gesture…pretty wild stuff.
It would seem that this type of application is a few years off, but by starting to use the curved screens, Samsung and LG can test out not only the display’s durability, but also the newly designed curved batteries that must accommodate the curved screen, before they move on to actual flexible screens – and flexible batteries – both of which must be able to endure many flexes in their lifetime. Customers are not going to be willing to fork over big dollars for this type of technology if they must replace it every year, much like a disposable device.
The patents represent a wide range of form factors that include simple curves, bending, and even rolling up the edges towards the middle of the display, and whether some, all, or any of these designs actually make it to market is still a mystery. When Samsung filed the patents, they stated that they are necessary in order to satisfy the customer demands for a new form factor and that ongoing flexible display “apparatus” designs will continue – to configure into different shapes, as if you would with paper or rubber. One of the patents describes when display is not in use, it can be rolled about a rotary roller embedded in the body.
I am not sure exactly why a consumer would want to manipulate their display in this fashion, and it seems as though Samsung is simply covering all the bases to avoid possible future patent wars with LG and Apple. Let us know in the comments or on Google+ if you really want a display that will “rollup” your smartphone, or are you just happy with the best looking display they can produce.