Items tagged with USPTO

It has been more than four years since the introduction of the HTC First, otherwise known as the Facebook Phone. It ultimately flopped and since then we have not heard from Facebook about taking another stab at the hardware market, but never say never. A patent application filed by Facebook with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) outlines a "modular electromechanical device" with a processor module and other interchangeable parts. "The modular electromechanical device includes a chassis and a plurality of functional modules that can be connected to the chassis," Facebook explains... Read more...
Innovation is not dead in the smartphone space, folks. Perhaps no company knows that better than Samsung, which has been changing the way we think of smartphone displays over the past few generations of handsets. The curved edge design proved so popular that both the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ have adopted it in place of flat panels. Looking ahead, Samsung's next flagships might sport a wraparound display that covers both the front and back. Samsung is laying the groundwork for such a design. It was recently awarded a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a smartphone... Read more...
Using Windows Hello, a feature Microsoft introduced with Windows 10, you can log into your system (assuming it's compatible) with your face or your fingerprint. It's a nifty alternative to hammering out a password, but it could also be more secure. In an effort to make it so, Microsoft was recently granted a patent related to iris recognition that could be used in future Windows devices, including smartphones, tablets, 2-in-1 systems, and so forth. Microsoft's patented technology also includes "liveness testing," which means the iris recognition process would be able to tell when there is a real... Read more...
We’re inching closer to the release of the Samsung Galaxy S8, which is destined to be one for the best-selling smartphones of 2017 if we go by the performance of its predecessors. Leading up the launch, Samsung has filed for a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seeking protection for the name, Galaxy S8. The trademark was officially applied for on January 12th, 2017. It is widely expected that Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S8 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, and launch it shortly after. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been getting what... Read more...
Microsoft may have closed the door on its Lumia family of smartphones, but that doesn’t mean that the company has given up on phones altogether. Mobile represents a huge opportunity for a company like Microsoft — an opportunity that up until this point it has largely squandered. However, a new patent filing reveals that Microsoft could still have a few more tricks up its sleeve; in this case, a folding smartphone. If such a design were to make it to production, it would likely adopt Surface branding, joining the likes of the aerobatic Surface Pro, Surface Book and Surface Studio. Entitled “Mobile... Read more...
One of our least favorite things to do is type out anything lengthy on a virtual keyboard, like those found on smartphones, tablets, and so forth. With that in mind, you'll have to excuse us for not being stoked about a recently discovered Apple patent for a "configurable force-sensitive input structure for electronic devices." The patent describes a laptop keyboard that replaces traditional physical keys with a special touchpad. If Apple were to implement something like this on, say, a future MacBook model, it would sort of be like typing on the iPad's virtual keyboard, though a little more advanced... Read more...
In a Twitter post on Monday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) confirmed that Michelle K. Lee is the organization’s new director. Lee once worked as a legal counsel for Google and now goes down in history as the first woman to lead the USPTO, filling a seat that has technically been vacant since 2013 (Lee was already serving as acting director). According to Reuters, Lee won the position by an unrecorded voice vote in the full Senate a mere week after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved her nomination. As such, she now officially leads a federal agency with... Read more...
A big shout out goes to Amazon for forever changing the way we think about photography. You see, Amazon was recently granted a patent that, in short, describes taking photos of subjects and/or or objects against a white background. Brilliant! Wait, what's that? Photographers far and wide have long known about this technique and used it extensively in the past? Well, that changes things -- give a huge shout out to Amazon's legal team for somehow wording the patent application in such a way that the USPTO thought this was a brand new idea worthy of patent No. 8,676,045. "A subject can be photographed... Read more...
Apple has snagged a patent from the USPTO for what amounts to Siri, evolved. The “method and apparatus for building an intelligent automated assistant” appears to be a situation where your whole home or office is littered with sensors that track where you are and what you’re doing while always being at the ready for voice commands and gestural input. The patented system would include message-passing between sensors as well as features such as language, activity, and time recognition with task automation, culled in part from events “collected from a user's environment”.... Read more...
Apple's just been granted a rather interesting patent for an "Electronic device display module," which is really a fancy way of describing a clever dual-sided laptop display with a solar panel on back. The front of the lid would house your typical LCD, though the backside would be constructed from electrochromic glass atop photovoltaic cells and touch sensors. In other words, it's a solar panel. The idea, of course, is that the lid would pull energy from the sun to charge the laptop and/or offer longer battery life. That's not all Apple has in mind, however. As described in the patent filing, the... Read more...
Google is apparently getting really serious about gesture control. In addition to acquiring Flutter, a San Francisco-based startup that develops gesture recognition technology, the sultan of search filed a patent application for using gestures in vehicles to perform a number of functions, such as changing the volume of music, raising or lowering the cabin temperature, and more. The patent describes using different gestures in different parts of the vehicle. Waving your hand in front of the radio, for example, would allow you to control the audio system. The obvious upshot is that once you learn... Read more...
Google has just been granted a patent for which it applied last year regarding the ability to launch programs via specific unlocking patterns. Android users can already unlock their phones with a special pattern to jump into the operating system, but in a future version of Android, it looks as though users will be able to leap into, say, Angry Birds or Netflix by inputting a custom launch pattern tied to each app. "This document describes a computing system that provides for alternative unlocking patterns. In general, a computing system may recognize multiple unlocking patterns," Google explains... Read more...
Apple may be looking to improve upon the stylus as we know it today. The Cupertino company filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for what it calls an "Active Stylus," which can be used on capacitive touch sensor panels like those found on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. "Conventional styluses are passive input devices in that they are incapable of actively transmitting stimulus signals or sensing a touch-induced capacitance change in a capacitive touch sensor panel...Unlike conventional styluses which work passively by blocking electric field lines... Read more...
Wielding a smartphone makes you a walking target. That's especially true of iPhone owners, and unfortunately, smartphone mugging has become the new trend in criminal circles. In fact, it was previously reported that half of all robberies in San Francisco so far in 2012 have been cell phone related, many of which took place in public places, like busy transit lines. Smartphone security is something that needs to improve, and it's the driving force behind a new patent application Apple filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). The patent is for an acceleration-based theft... Read more...
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