In the tech world, you see some pretty crazy stuff come through patent offices. Although some of it never actually sees the light of day, the people and companies that came up with these ideas are at least making sure nobody beats them to the punch. A good portion, however, end up making it out to the public as commercial products. Given today’s technology and Samsung’s progress on flexible OLED displays, the latter may be a very big possibility for a patent that dropped today in the Korean Intellectual Property Office that shows an unusual and very bold device design.
If you’ve ever wanted a pocketable tablet as your phone, but didn’t want the mediocre Kyocera Echo and didn’t want to buy jeans with huge pockets to actually carry an LTE-compatible tablet, Samsung’s latest patent application may give you something to smile about. Taking advantage of the flexible and stretchable OLED technology that Samsung has long had as a feather in their cap, the device can be stretched oblong into a watch, folded up into a smartphone, or straightened and rolled out into a tablet. The smartphone form can contour to your face during calls and the watch mode automatically figures out where the watch’s screen should be and puts it there, in the most optimal view possible. The tablet form, on the other hand, uses up every available panel to make a screen that looks to be about 8 inches diagonally.
While the back of the device is made up of a grid of interlocking panels connected by short metal struts to hold everything in place, the front of the device is all one big slab of screen. This means that in phone mode, you’ll have a very slender device with a bit of screen on each side of the back, a sort of continuation of the Edge design to its logical conclusion. In smartwatch form, you actually have some of the screen pressed against your skin, presenting the possibility of fitness tracking and heart monitoring tech built into the screen itself. If that is the case, it’s not hard to imagine an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor lurking beneath the depths of the screen as well, since the front does not seem to have a separate home button where a normal one could reside. This is a mere concept, of course, and given the fact that Samsung has yet to put any flexible OLED devices out on the market, we’re likely years away from being able to see something like this on store shelves. Still, it’s nice to see Samsung thinking about such a useful and innovative design.