Tech leaders are constantly innovating and designing new concepts, many of which become ground-breaking technological advances in their sectors. The mobile industry is no different. With each manufacturer racing to design the next big thing in mobile technology, manufacturers are submitting thousands of patents every year.

To explore further, we have researched the most weird and wonderful patents submitted by tech innovators, reimagining what today’s smartphones could have looked like:

Delving further into our research, patents that have been submitted include:

See-through phones

Samsung filed a patent on 27th August 2020 for a ‘transparent display device’ that could still retain full display functionality. Key features of a transparent display could be dual-sided touchscreens, effectively doubling the available display size, and a huge step forward with augmented reality (AR) experiences.

See_Through_Screen

There are still a few hurdles to go however though to make this a reality, such as making internal components of the phone transparent or finding a way to incorporate them into the bezel of the device.[1]

Superior waterproofing

Huawei is constantly trying to get ahead of the game, and this patent shows exactly that. The brand has submitted a patent for a new superior waterproofing method for smartphones and tablets.
[2]

Waterproof_Body

Extendable screens

A patent submitted by Samsung in December 2019 presents a smartphone that can physically extend itself to present a larger display area; ideal for watching your favourite Netflix shows.

There is often a trade-off with screen size on mobile devices, a larger screen offers greater viewing experiences, but this also makes the device a bit bulkier to carry around. This patent aims to solve this problem with a compact device that can then be expanded when you’re in need of some extra screen size.

Extendable_screen

Similar in concept to Samsung’s expandable phone concept, a patent from Oppo suggests a more distinct pop-up display for improving gaming and video experiences.[3]

Drop-proof case

Everyone has fumbled their phones and caused damage to them at some point in their lives, and this patent filed by Apple aims to relieve that heart-stopping moment when your phone slips through your fingers.

Impact_case

The patent describes a case containing sensors, which when detecting a drop, will fire signals to the ‘electro-active polymer’ case walls and increase the stiffness of the case, offering added protection for the phone.[4]

Rotating cameras

Another interesting patent from Xiaomi explores the possibility of a camera module that can rotate, allowing users to capture photos from all angles while still having the benefit of being able to see what they’re capturing on their screen.
[5]

Swivel_Camera

Pop up displays

Similar in concept to Samsung’s expandable phone concept, this patent from Oppo suggests a more distinct, pop-up display for improving gaming and video experiences.[6]

Popout_Screen_Dark

Bent edges

Samsung’s patent for a Galaxy smartphone display with an extended bent edge, which has physical buttons protruding through the glass, is distinctively different from anything the mobile industry has seen before.

Screen_Buttons

This would give users greater touch control of their devices that standard touchscreens and side buttons would struggle to match.[7]

Foldable surface devices

Microsoft was granted a patent relating to its next-gen foldable dual display devices branded Surface Neo and Surface Duo. The hinge position of the device corresponds to a state of the device such as a “book state” or a “laptop state”.

Z_Fold-1

This would allow the devices to function as a phone, book, tablet, or even a laptop, making them incredibly versatile.[8]

Foldable screen

Rather than including a hinge, Samsung have filed a patent for a future foldable version of their Galaxy Note Smartphone. The design is revealed deep into the filed patent, but it appears to be a reinvention of how the display is folded and protected.[9]

Bendy_extender-1

Magnetic hinges

Samsung submitted a patent for a magnetic hinge system that would allow for a dual display smartphone. The two electronic devices can then be folded on one another, leading to improved portability.[10]

Magnetic_Hinge

Although it is exciting to daydream about the next biggest developments in mobile technology, the current crop of mobile devices are jam packed with cutting-edge features and design elements. To find your next handset, check out the latest deals at mobiles.co.uk.

Sources


  1. Transparent phone: https://nl.letsgodigital.org/uploads/2020/09/samsung-smartphone-transparent-display.pdf ↩︎

  2. Superioir waterproofing: https://www.patentlymobile.com/2019/02/huawei-seeks-superior-waterproofing-method-for-future-smartphones-and-tablets.html ↩︎

  3. Expandable phone: https://www.patentlymobile.com/2019/12/samsung-invents-a-smartphone-with-a-display-that-could-expand-when-watching-mobile-tv-or-other-types-of-apps.html ↩︎

  4. Damage resistant case: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=8&p=1&f=G&l=50&d=PTXT&S1=(apple.ASNM.+AND+20200915.PD.)&OS=an/apple+and+isd/9/15/2020&RS=(AN/apple+AND+ISD/20200915 ↩︎

  5. Rotating camera: https://nl.letsgodigital.org/uploads/2020/05/xiaomi-smartphone.pdf ↩︎

  6. Pop-up display: https://nl.letsgodigital.org/uploads/2019/04/oppo-smartphone.pdf ↩︎

  7. Bent edges:
    https://www.patentlymobile.com/2020/02/samsung-wins-patent-for-a-smartphone-with-a-display-having-a-bent-edge-and-buttons-protruding-through-the-glass.html ↩︎

  8. Foldable surface:
    https://www.itpro.co.uk/windows-phone/28391/microsoft-patents-a-foldable-surface-phone ↩︎

  9. Foldable Screen: https://www.patentlymobile.com/2020/03/samsung-has-won-a-major-patent-for-a-future-foldable-version-of-their-galaxy-note-smartphone.html ↩︎

  10. Magnetic hinges: https://www.patentlymobile.com/2020/01/samsung-invents-an-ingenious-magnetic-hinge-system-for-a-possible-dual-display-smartphone-with-a-special-feature.html ↩︎