Google imagines phones wrapped in one giant display [PATENT]


Say what you want about Google, but the Mountain View tech giant is always thinking about innovation in everything they do. This latest patent is proof positive of that, with Google exploring unique ways to use displays as the chassis for a smartphone device.

The patent — which Google aptly titled “mobile electronic device wrapped in electronic display” — shows that Google is  exploring the possibility of using extended and flexible displays to show wallpapers, information or icons outside the typical scope of a device’s main display.

How it works

Think of your phone’s current build — with plastic or metal bezels surrounding the screen, on the sides of the device, and on the back of the device — and how you’d use something like a case or stickers to personalize it. With this idea you’d be able to do it all digitally, giving you the ability to get the exact look you want and even change it up if you get bored with it.

google display patent 3

The patent also details the “wrapping” of the display around the backside of a device or up to the outer edges that connects the front chassis to the back of the device. We imagine this would appear as some sort of ticker on the side that can feed you minimal information while keeping the rest of the display off, something that AMOLED technology could facilitate.

The other examples Google presented were interesting in their own light. One figure from the patent document illustrated using the display to show an extended wallpaper that would give users a way to dynamically customize the look of their device without having to use skins or cases.

Another example used the display to show parts of other pages of your home-screen that would normally be hidden, as well as widgets for date, time and weather. There were also examples of information scrolling from one edge of a device to another. All of these different examples can be seen in the figures above and below.

Could this work well?

We’re not sure how well all of this would function in practice, but it definitely has our interests piqued in theory. Technology like this stands to be scrutinized by those who are concerned with battery life, of course. A secondary display does have us wondering if this would be more detrimental than helpful to typical mobile experiences.

We also have reservations about the design aspect of it — just how “sexy” can a device look with its chassis made up of nothing but displays? How pretty will it be when the device is completely powered down or in sleep mode?

Those are questions that can only be answered with a tangible example, so we’ll have to wait and see if anyone has plans of introducing a device like the ones Google described. As with any patent, though, there’s no telling if we’ll ever see this implemented in consumer or prototype form, but we’re glad Google’s staying on the ball when it comes to innovative ideas.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. The more displays the better

  2. Sorry… not sure what is wrong with my brain today.

  3. Imagine, any way you drop it there will be a screen to break. Oh the possibilities.

    1. this^

    2. Didn’t think of this but yes, very true. They would have to leave some space to put at least a bumper on or something. Or the user would just have to suck it up and cover that stuff.

    3. After my daughter fell and the tablet she was carrying hit the floor, the glass edges helped the screen to spider. I can’t imagine a ta let without protection.

  4. It’s a nice idea but I’ve noticed going from the Note 2 to the Note 3 that less bezel isn’t always good. It looks good but I’m constantly activating stuff I didn’t mean to because now my fingers rest closer to actual screen.

    1. Yeah I have had this same problem with my G2, I use a case though and it fixed it because I am holding it slightly above the screen now… Still when playing some games though I randomly click the sides without intending to.

  5. Unless they can make the display both unbreakable and grippy, I DO NOT WANT. A case for me.

  6. I dont really see the point myself because like many others have said most companys are trying to have no bezel.
    But i think they patent this to prevent others from patenting it cause you may never know what the future brings. Maybe we will see such a thing in tablets, because in tablets we kinda like a bezel.

  7. A display on your whole phone you say???

    1. Better Patent it and not use than not Patent it and be sorry later.. You know there are companies that are even suing theming apps..

      1. My comment & pic are in jest is all like RobJackson did. I do find a bit much & kinda hilarious so why not get a laugh or 2. But I do understand why… make a good point that of better to have than not have. Litigation not Innovation has too often become the norm.

  8. And then….you put a case on it and you can’t see sh** ^^

  9. Mirasol, Qualcomm’s color e-ink tech, and other color e-ink tech could make this work. The outer display may not even need to be turned off with the rest of the device – these technologies don’t generally use power if they’re not changing the image.

  10. Google wouldn’t know innovation if it smacked them in the forehead.

    1. I think you mean Apple. Did you see their new trashcan. I mean mac pro?

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