Smartphone makers have entered a technological competition to take the lead in the next generation smartphone market that will follow the first-generation foldable phone market.
Major smartphone producers including Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, and Sony have entered a patent competition to develop display technologies that maximize the performance of handsets. Most companies started applying patents for new technologies two or three years ago and have received approvals within the last six months.
Samsung Electronics received a patent approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on April 25 for a product that covers the front and back side screen with a single display. The patented display covers the smartphone screen from the front to the top edge and to the back. In other words, the display covers both sides of a phone and the top edge.
This display allows the other party on the opposite side to see the screen the user sees. The display extended to the top edge can show text messages and call history, which means that a user can check them without taking out the phone if it is put upright in a pocket inside the bag.
Meanwhile, LG Electronics considers applying the transparent display technology to smart phones. On April 10, it received a patent approval from the USPTO three years after filing an application under the patent name “mobile terminal.”
This display becomes transparent when folded or opened, and only about a quarter of the transparent screen is obscured, which is where the battery and major parts are. This product is in a normal smartphone size, but it becomes a tablet when unfolded. Transparent displays are highly useful in many ways. A user can see their own fingers that hold the product and operate the phone from the back by touching the screen. The touch sensor on the rear display turns on when the transparency increases by more than 20 percent. The user can operate the terminal while looking at his or her own hand on the back side of the product. This product is equipped with cameras on both front and back, where it also has a 3D laser sensor.
Sony received a patent approval from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under the name "display device and electronics" last year. This product has displays on both sides and can operate six different screen modes. It can also make the screen partially transparent and can be applied to foldable phones and rollable phones.
Chinese smartphone maker Oppo has patented an extra projecting screen on the smartphone. It projects from the phone to display additional information.