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Sony patents the pop-out camera/speaker phone

The 'Sony pop-out speaker phone'. (Source: WIPO via LetsGoDigital)
The 'Sony pop-out speaker phone'. (Source: WIPO via LetsGoDigital)
According to a new document reportedly filed with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), Sony has invented a phone that has pop-up modules at both its top and bottom edges. These additional parts span the short edges of the main device, and largely function to hide front-firing speakers when not in use.

Many smartphone OEMs have patented unique and occasionally odd designs aimed at the reduction of a device's footprint or the maximization of their screen real estate. This goal has often resulted in pop-up modules that hide a front-facing camera within the body of a phone when not in use. Sony's latest apparent take on this concept deals with additional parts besides.

This company has reportedly patented a kind of phone frame that puts entire front-firing speaker grilles in either end of the phone. Therefore, they slide outward from the top and bottom of the device when in use.

Furthermore, the top speaker also integrates the phone's selfie camera (in the manner of some old-school HTC phones with their notification lights), which leads to it deploying alone in the event that this component is called for within an app or a lockscreen shortcut. On that note, both pop-out modules activate when taking a call.

Obviously, they also do so while displaying content. This innovative IP may be a way for Sony - once known for its commitment to the front-facing mobile stereo speaker - to build a reputation as an audio-focused phone brand once again. Then again, as with many current pop-up phones, it is heavy on extra moving parts subject to the risk of breakage or failure.

The new document has only been uploaded to the WIPO database in May 2020 - however, as the company had had it approved by Japanese patent authorities before this in 2018, it is possible that we may see this new tech in a real-world device soon.

The Sony pop-out concept and some of its use-cases. (Source: WIPO via LetsGoDigital)
The Sony pop-out concept and some of its use-cases. (Source: WIPO via LetsGoDigital)


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Deirdre O Donnell, 2020-05-19 (Update: 2020-05-19)