The original American company Intel is known for its processors, motherboards, software and other computer components. Although the company also produces smartphone chips, it is significantly less successful here. Again Intel will have to compete with formidable competitor Qualcomm. Yet it cannot be ruled out that new Intel smartphones will be introduced in the future, according to a recently published design patent.
It concerns two patents that were both applied at the end of 2016 by Intel Corporation at the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office). Both design patents are entitled ‘multi-camera mobile device’ and were published on 14 May 2019 in the WIPO Global Design Database.
Full screen Intel smartphone with 360˚ camera
The first patent shows two Intel smartphones. The first model has a full screen. No screen border is visible on the two sides, the flexible display extends all the way to the side of the device.
The selfie camera is integrated into the screen. The placement of this camera is remarkable since it is placed just slightly off center. At the top and bottom, we see a very thin screen border. It is a rectangular shaped smartphone, but the unique curvature makes it a stylish device to see. A similar design was also patented by Apple two years ago. Samsung has, over time, also applied for various patents for a Samsung smartphone with a flexible display that runs around the entire device.
If we look at the back of the Intel smartphone, we will also see a screen here. The upper part of the device consists of a screen surface. Here too, the camera is incorporated into the screen, which is also placed slightly off center. Although several smartphones have now been introduced with a dual screen, we normally see that the selfie camera is not used in such a case. Finally, selfies can also be made with the main camera.
Intel, however, chooses to place a screen and a camera on both the front and back. The reason for this becomes clear from the logo that is placed underneath. “360˚ Intel” is on it. Intel introduced the 360-degree replay technology at the end of 2016, to be able to make 360-degree recordings. This technology is used at various NFL stages, among other things, with which sports matches can be recorded in a completely new way, to create a more intense game experience.
In terms of design, the second model broadly corresponds to the first discussed model. Here, however, the camera is not placed in the screen, but in the upper bezel. No screen edges are visible on the bottom and sides. The camera is also slightly off center in this design.
This time there is no display on the back. The 360˚ Intel logo is integrated in it. It seems obvious that the front and rear camera work together to record 360˚ images.
Remarkably, we don’t see any physical buttons on either model. This of course has to do with the rounded sides. The display goes so far that there is no metal frame to process physical buttons. There are also no ports/connections, for example, the charger visible.
Meizu proved early this year that it is actually possible to introduce a smartphone without buttons or ports. The Meizu Zero is the world’s first smartphone that only has virtual buttons with haptic feedback. Possibly Intel wants to choose the same type of solution.
Smartphone with camera under the screen
The second patent from Intel Corporation consists of 10 patent images, this time one smartphone model is highlighted. A very narrow screen border is visible around the device. The left side offers space for two physical buttons to adjust the volume. A physical on / off button appears to be missing.
Also with this model we see a full screen design in which the selfie camera is incorporated in the screen. This time the camera is placed in the middle. The rear offers space for a double camera , which is placed in the top left and right corner. Because the rear is slightly curved, the two cameras are at an extra large angle, allowing more to be captured. This Intel smartphone is also provided with the 360˚ Intel logo.
In addition, this phone model also has a display at the rear. The upper part consists of screen surface, here too the display extends to the sides. The speaker is placed in both the top and bottom of the device. A connection for the charger is missing.
There are three futuristic smartphone designs, where the focus seems to be on the 360˚ camera functionality. Since it is a design patent, there is no further information regarding the functions of these Intel smartphones.
Intel and the smartphone industry
Whether Intel actually intends to release one of these smartphones remains a question. However, the signs are not exactly favorable. Although the company has been trying for several years to set a firmer foot in the smartphone market, competition from companies such as Qualcomm, Samsung, and Apple is fierce.
Intel has already lost the battle for 4G LTE chips, Qualcomm has become the winning party here. It was recently announced that Intel will also not manufacture 5G chips for smartphones. The company decided to do this after it was announced that Apple and Qualcomm have settled the dispute. The two companies were embroiled in a patent battle, which has now been settled through a settlement.
Apple has been waiting for the required 5G chips from Intel for a long time, but they don’t seem to want to roll. Now that the battle has been settled, Apple can turn to Qualcomm again for the processors with a 5G modem that is embedded. The 2019 iPhone models also seem to be powered by an Intel chip. Apple wants to introduce its first 5G iPhone in 2020, by which time Qualcomm will be looking around.
Then of course there is the operating system. Normally you would think that an Intel phone will run on the Windows OS. However, at the beginning of this year, Microsoft has announced that it will officially stop using the Windows Phone / Windows Mobile operating system. The support will be stopped at the end of this year. So there are actually only two options left; Android and iOS.
It is possible that Intel is still looking for a partner to release a smartphone together, this strategy was often chosen in the past. In addition, it is quite possible that Intel also sees a future for folding smartphones.
At the beginning of this year, a patent was filed for an Intel folding smartphone that folds open into a large tablet. In the coming years, more and more consumer electronics products will be introduced with a flexible screen.
Yesterday, the world’s first folding laptop was announced. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is the first laptop with a large bendable, flexible screen, which means that the portable computer no longer has a physical keyboard. This laptop is also equipped with an Intel processor.