Patent Bolt: Samsung invents new ways of handling folders on Android

In order to get around Apple’s methodology of handling folders on Android, Samsung has devised a number of interesting new twists that will allow users to quickly scroll through folder items. Another idea will allow a user to build mini stacks of apps or subfolders that are easier to manage quickly. A little competition has forced Samsung’s engineers to come up with some rather inspiring new user interface folder ideas for Android that will benefit most consumers and professionals alike.

Samsung’s Patent Background

Mobile devices have developed to serve as multimedia devices, and equipped with various types of additional services, such as an electronic note function, a game function and a schedule management function, for example. User interfaces have also developed to allow users to easily use and manage these services. For example, a mobile device includes a user interface that displays application icons or folder icons on the main screen or a home screen on the touch screen.

To cover the areas to which applications are applied, developers have developed corresponding applications that are specially designed to be installed to mobile devices. This results in numbers of applications which increase dramatically over time. Users download required applications to their mobile devices and arrange icons corresponding to the applications on the main screen or home screen. But as the number of icons that correspond to applications continuously increases, arranging them on the screen proves to be a daunting task as the size of mobile device screens is limited.

Conventional screen display systems also are disadvantageous in that they fail to enable users to identify the contents of an application corresponding to an icon. In particular, when the icon is a folder icon, users cannot identify the contents of applications or subfolders contained in the folder.

Samsung’s Proposed Solution

Samsung’s invention relates to overcoming the shortcomings of the prior art by providing a system to effectively manage icons corresponding to applications in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The invention provides a display method and system by which a number of object items selected by the user are formed as a group of object items arranged on a screen of a mobile device.

In the first example below covering patent FIGS. 4 and 5 we see a simple function of dragging one icon over another to begin the process of building an icon stack.

Expanding Object Items

In patent FIG. 11 shown below we’re able to see the process of expanding object items like an accordion. Tapping on the stack will quickly unfold the stacked icons and in reverse, the stack folds back neatly.

Alternative Methods of Opening Folders on Mobile Device Interfaces

Alternative Methods of handling folders are shown below. In one example we see that you’ll be able to move icons around like a deck of cards or have the stack open in a secondary screen like is done on an iOS device.

The Scrolling Folder

And lastly, Samsung presents a folder idea that simply involves scrolling through a folder, which looks like a winning user interface methodology to get around Apple’s folder style, legally.

Samsung’s patent application was originally filed in Q4 2011 and published by the US Patent and Trademark Office in Q2 2012.


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