Samsung has seen its fair share of accusations when it comes to a lack of originality with external design. In many cases these have been justified claims, generally relating to the similarities that can be drawn between many of Samsung’s devices and the popular iPhone line.
However, Samsung has recently had a new patent published by the US Patent & Trademark Office that demonstrates an electronic skin which can be wrapped around a device. This skin can effectively act like a rudimentary screen and will allow users to customise the visual appearance of their device with their own photos and designs.
This concept, if it turns out to be both genuine and applicable, is not only unique and innovative, but totally awesome. One of the problems when it comes to the aesthetics of smartphone design is that there is really only so much a manufacturer can do if it wants to create a stylish device but still appeal to the mainstream market. So far the most outlandish smartphone we’ve seen that hasn’t failed utterly in the last couple of years is the Nokia Lumia series. While the Lumia line definitely rocks its own image, it’s still nothing compared to the potential of actually creating and applying your own personal designs for the physical appearance of your phone.
There is also the potential of extending a screen image out beyond the display and to the surrounding bezel, essentially projecting an image to the outermost edges of the device. This will almost definitely only support still images in the initial stages, but it will be interesting to see how it develops if the technology even ends up eventuating.
It’s important to note that this is just a patent application right now and there’s no real proof that Samsung will be able to follow through with its vision.
UPDATE: There’s also talk of the possibility that Samsung is, in fact, not trying to patent some new and super cool technology but instead going after the patent for a very old one. Accusations are arising that Samsung is trying to grab up the rights to those printable skins you can grab from Amazon, among other places, for pocket change. We’re going to continue hoping that this isn’t true, but going by the current state of the patent wars in the mobile market we certainly wouldn’t be surprised if it were.