Electronic device

 

Field of the invention
The invention relates to an electronic device, and modular units for an electronic device.

Background of the invention
The current trend in electronic devices, like in particular mobile phones that became “smartphones” and electronic devices like “tablets”, is to make these devices as compact as possible. This has led to further integration of components of these electronic devices. Integration of components at first led to less failure. When looking for instance at televisions, this is evident.
Many devices, like the already mentioned mobile phones and tablets, have many parts that remain vulnerable to damage, in particular because of the mobile, hand-held nature of these electronic devices. Displays shatter or break, plugs break, microphones and speakers attract dirt and dust and break down. Further and further integration however make it more and more impossible to repair these electronic devices, despite the increasing costs of these high-tech devices.
Another trend in electronic devices, and in particular in mobile phones, tablets and other hand-held devices, is the improvement of performance.
The applicant is a social enterprise with the goal of creating a fairer economy. Applicant seeks to open up supply chains to understand how things are made and build stronger connections between people and their products. The electronic devices that are developed by the applicant serve to uncover production systems, address challenging problems and stimulate discussions about what is truly fair. Thus, leading by example to expand the market for ethical products and giving a voice to consumers that care about social values. Together with a community formed, applicant wants to change the way products are made. To that end, applicant defined five core action areas:
Mining: Applicant wants to source materials that support local economies, not armed militias.
Design: Focusing on longevity and reparability to extend the phone’s usable life and give buyers more control over their products.
Manufacturing: Factory workers deserve safe conditions, fair wages and worker representation. Applicant works closely with manufacturers that want to invest in
employee wellbeing.
Life Cycle: Applicant addresses the full lifespan of mobile phones, including use, reuse and safe recycling.
Social Entrepreneurship: Applicant works to create a new economy with a focus on social values. By operating transparently and sharing the story, applicant is helping
consumers make informed decisions about what they buy.
Recently, an initiative called “phonebloks” was launched, which is further developed in a project called “Ara”. It presented a concept of a modular mobile phone having various blocks that attach to a base. No detailed embodiment was presented, however. It seems to relate to rectangular, functional blocks that are all plugged into a common breadboard.
US2014252779 according to its abstract described a locking arrangement configured to attach to each other a body part of an electronic device and a cover part of the electronic device. The locking arrangement includes an elongated locking part configured to be mounted inside the body part. The locking part is configured to be movable between an open position and a closed position inside the body part and the locking part extends along most of the length of one edge of the body part. In the closed position the locking part engages the cover part thereby coupling the cover part and the body part together.
US2006099837 according to its abstract described a metal mobile phone case. The metal mobile phone case has an upper housing and a lower housing. Sliding-slots are on two sides of the upper housing. Sliding-blocks corresponding to the sliding-slots are on two sides of the lower housing. By inserting the sliding-blocks into the sliding-slots, the upper housing and the lower housing are assembled. The lower housing further has an antenna cavity and a battery cavity. By placing an antenna cover and a battery cover on the antenna cavity and the battery cavity respectively, the upper housing and the lower housing can further be secured.
US5426564 according to its abstract described a modularized electronic system for packaging and assembling one or more electronic module assemblies comprising at least one external enclosure case having one internal room for module mounting. The external enclosure case further comprises at least one upper case assembly and one lower case assembly for clamping the electronic modules in between. Each electronic module comprises a module head and a substantially rectangular module body. The module head further comprises a rigid module connector on its bottom vertically plugged in a receptacle on the lower case assembly. The module body further comprises a substantially flat top end and bottom end and is clamped between upper and lower case assemblies whereby the module assembly can be easily installed or removed by hand without using tools. The internal mounting mechanism of the system greatly simplifies the mounting mechanisms of both the internal modules and the external enclosure case and allows complete modularization of a portable computer system.
US2014329570 according to its abstract described an exemplary wireless communication device includes a circuit board, a metal board, and a display module. The circuit board includes two groups of connecting terminals. The metal board is located on the circuit board and includes two metal bodies. The display module is located on the metal board. One metal body is electronically connected to one group of connecting terminals. The other metal body is electronically connected to the other group of connecting terminals.
US2011255218 according to its abstract described systems and methods for cover assembly retention of a portable electronic device. In some embodiments, a cover assembly and/or housing of an electronic device can include one or more retention features such as detents, hooks, tabs, extensions, screw plates, screw holes, shuttles, latches, or any combination of the above, for retaining the cover assembly to the housing. In some embodiments, one or more retention features can be included on a internal platform of the electronic device to retain the cover assembly. In some embodiments, a hidden screw feature can be included in a SIM tray slot of the electronic device. Once a SIM tray has been inserted into the SIM tray slot, the screw feature can be hidden from sight and may become unapparent to an end user of the electronic device.
US2014078708 according to its abstract described a mobile terminal including a camera module mounted in a terminal body and configured to capture an image; a frame mounted onto the terminal body to cover at least part of the camera module, the frame having a locking hole; and a cover coupled to the terminal body to cover the frame. Further, the cover includes a locking hook locked in the locking hole to fix a position of the frame when the cover is coupled to the terminal body.
WO2004077800 according to its abstract described a compact display module for use in electronic devices, comprising a flat display having a front side with a display surface, and a carrier frame supporting the display. A metal frame is arranged over said front side with an aperture at said display surface, said metal frame having a flat gasket-receiving portion which is parallel to said display surface and extends around said aperture.

Summary of the invention

It is an aspect of the invention to provide an electronic device that provides an alternative for known electronic devices. Furthermore or alternatively, it is an aspect of the invention to provide an electronic device with improved use, reuse and/or safe recycling. Furthermore or alternatively, it is an aspect of the invention to provide an electronic device which can be produced in improved working conditions. Furthermore or alternatively, it is an aspect of the invention to provide an electronic device with extended life cycle due to refurbishment, repair and/or upgrading. Furthermore or alternatively, it is an aspect of the invention to provide an electronic device which requires less natural resources, in particular during its life cycle.
The invention thus provides a modular electronic device, in particular a portable device, more in particular a handheld device, said modular electronic device comprising a chassis comprising a frame holding a computational module comprising a circuit board holding a data processor, and a display module comprising a planar display device having a viewing side and a rear side, said display module comprising a back plate on the rear side of the display device, wherein said frame further comprises a frame attachment part and said back plate comprises a display attachment part for allowing said display module to be attached to said frame in a sliding manner in a sliding direction in-plane of said planar display device, and said frame comprising a frame lock part and said display module comprising a display lock part for in a mutually locked position locking said frame and said display module onto one another, blocking said sliding, and in a mutually released position allowing sliding of said display module and said frame with respect to one another for allowing removal of said display module from said frame.
The applicant came to the conclusion that the replacement cycle of electronic devices put a heavy burden on natural resources. Furthermore, applicant came to the conclusion that failure of some minor parts of electronic devices nowadays leads to a complete replacement of a device, or specialised repair that requires time, and leads to replacement to integrated component, which in turn again leads to a heavy burden on natural resources. This became even more harrowing as many parts require raw materials that are mined in development countries where miners work under poor conditions. Applicant was seeking to solve these problems, while still providing electronic devices that appeal to the public, including techno geeks.
In its analysis, applicant found that not all parts and components have the same failure rate or have the same breakage rate. Furthermore, applicant found that not all components have the same life cycle and/or cycle of technological development. For instance, analysis of the applicant lead to the insight that for instance parts like a display, camera and the like have a high and faster development rate.
The mobile communication protocols and networking technology, however, develop much slower, in particular the general acceptance and introduction are results from standardization processes and develop relatively slowly.
Applicant came to the concept of a modular electronic device, which was 180 degrees different from the ongoing integration of components.
A next step was to identify the different modules that needed to be developed. Careful analysis of failure statistics, repair practises, and the like led to a grouping of components into different modules.
Placing components into modules however led to additional and new problems that were not foreseen earlier. For instance, shielding of a module became necessary. Providing proper contact between modules became a new field of problems that needed to be solved.
A further philosophy of the applicant, which further complicated the design, was that repair and upgrading of an electronic device should be done at a low level, if possible at the user side. This would, according to the philosophy of the applicant, lead to a further involvement of the users with his electronic device, and possible involvement and engagement on the side of the user with issues like production circumstances, preservation of natural resources, and trade issues. In fact, when providing an electronic device that was build modularly, having modules that could be upgraded individually, modules that could be replaced and repaired individually, would make it possible for a user or consumer to make choices regarding their electronic device that included fair trade, preservation of natural resources, equal opportunities, socially responsible production, and the like.
In general, a chassis has an internal framework that supports a man-made object in its construction and use. A common example of a chassis is the underpart of a motor vehicle, consisting of the frame (on which the body is mounted). In general, it is a structural part onto which further parts are mounted..
In an electronic device the chassis comprises a frame or other internal supporting structure on which the circuit boards and other electronics are mounted.
In the absence of a frame, the chassis refers to the circuit boards and components themselves, not the physical structure.
In some known designs, such as for instance older television and radio sets, the chassis is mounted inside a heavy, rigid cabinet. In other designs such as modern computer cases, lightweight covers or panels are attached to the chassis.
A combination of chassis and one or more outer covering parts can be referred to as an enclosure or a housing.
In an embodiment of the modular electronic device, the display attachment part comprises a series of hooks having an end part extending in said sliding direction and said frame attachment part comprises corresponding hooks extending in said sliding direction and a stop blocking further sliding when said display module is at a coupled position on said frame.
In an embodiment, the display lock and said frame lock comprise a latch that is displaceable in a direction that is at an angle with respect to said sliding direction for engaging a lock member in said locked position and releasing one another in said released position. In an embodiment thereof, said latch is displaceable in a lock direction that is perpendicular to said sliding direction. In a more particular embodiment, said latch runs on a rail.
Thus, it allows a display module to be attached to a frame by first sliding it and then locking the display module onto the frame. In this way, it is possible to assemble and disassemble without using any additional tools. With a planar display, it can be connected or releasably mounted or fixed to one side of the frame.
In an embodiment, the modular electronic device further comprises a battery, snapped onto said frame, wherein said display module comprises a cam at its rear side engaging said battery for blocking removal of said display module from said frame when said battery is snapped onto said frame. In an embodiment, the display module is attached to one side of the frame, and the battery can be snapped onto the other side of the frame. Thus, the battery can be removed without need to handle the display module. Hot swaping of modules leads to a number of complexities and does not add any significant benefit in the context of most consumer electronic devices. Thus, it is beneficial if the display module can not be removed from the chassis or from the frame while the battery is in place.
In an embodiment, one of said circuit board and said display module comprises a first connector end and the other comprises a second connector end that is complementary to said first connector end. In an embodiment, the first connector end comprises a series of biased contact pins and a conductive rim surrounding said contact pins, and said second connector end comprises a series of conducting patches, positioned for a patch to correspond to a contact pin, and said patches surrounded by a peripheral contact surrounding said contact patches and corresponding to said conductive rim, said conductive rim and said peripheral contact provided for providing part of a Faraday cage around said contact pins and contact patches when in contact. It was found that a removable module in combination with wireless communication may give rise to problems which may be solved at least partially in this way.
In an embodiment, the back plate of said display module comprises an electrically conductive plate forming an electromagnetic shielding layer for providing a common ground for said modular electronic device. In an embodiment, the conductive back plate is from one selected from magnesium and a magnesium alloy, for providing rigidity to said display module. Furthermore, magnesium is relatively light in weight, yet relatively strong. Alternatively, another conductive metal may be used, like a stainless steel sheet of an aluminium sheet. It may also be possible to combine these metals.
In an embodiment, the modules comprise a housing comprising a front cover and a rear cover, with said rear cover comprising an electromagnetic (EMI) shielding layer comprising a contact end contacting said common ground. In an embodiment, the at least one of the cover parts are made from a polymer composition. Often, a composition a thermoplastic material is used. In an embodiment, the polymer composition is selected from one or more of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP), polyester, like for instance polyethylene terephthalate (PET), nylon, polycarbonate (PC), Polyetherimide (PEI), Polyetherether ketone (PEEK), and the like. These polymers and their use are all known to a skilled person.
In an embodiment, the said rear cover is injection moulded with EMI shielding as an inlay in an inlay moulding process. Alternatively or in combination, a 3D printing process may be applied. The EMI shielding inlay, for instance a stainless steel part, of a part from another metal, can provide additional strength to the housing as well as EMI shielding and grounding.
In an embodiment, the modular electronic device further comprises at least one antenna unit and a coaxial lead for connecting said antenna unit, said coaxial lead comprising a sheath comprising a conductive connector contacting said electrically conductive plate of said display module. In this way, more efficient use can be made of the common ground and/or common shielding. This makes positioning one or more antenna units in the electronic device easier.
In an embodiment, the modular electronic device further comprises at least one antenna unit comprising an antenna on a carrier and comprising a connection part for functionally connecting said antenna to said further modular electronic device, in particular said antenna unit comprising a connection part for further mechanically releasably connecting to said chassis. The carrier may be a substrate. The connection part may be integrated, providing both mechanical connection as well as functional connection. Such an antenna unit provides flexibility. Using for instance a flexible foil substrate, an antenna unit can be easy and low cost in production. Furthermore, replacement is easy, and for instance changing the antenna for different bandwidth or more optimized design may be possible. The substrate can be a flexible, polymer substrate. The antenna unit may be produced using laser direct structuring (LDS). Antenna units can be provided for Bluetooth, WIFI, LTE, 4G, and any other wireless communication protocol and/or frequency. In an embodiment, the antenna is provided on a foil substrate. The foil substrate may comprise contacts. When positioned on the chassis, the contacts may be connected to one or more leads functionally connecting the antenna to the further electronic device.
The invention further relates to a display module for an electronic device, comprising a planar display unit having a display side for viewing said display and a rear side provided with a back plate comprising a conductive shield layer that is at least partially embedded in a polymer material while leaving at least part of a surface of said conductive shield layer that is directed away from said rear side free for being electrically contacted. In an embodiment the back plate comprising a display attachment part for allowing said display module to be attached a frame in a sliding manner in a sliding direction in-plane of said planar display unit. The back plate may further comprise a display lock part for in a mutually locked position locking to a frame, blocking said sliding, and in a mutually released position allowing sliding of said display module and a frame with respect to one another for allowing removal of said display module from a frame. The display module can be connected easily, and can provide common grounding and/or shielding in the electronic device. Furthermore, assembly and disassembly are possible without further tools.

The invention further relates to an electronic device comprising a data processor, a communication unit for wireless communication, a display module comprising a display, a camera module comprising a camera device, and a battery, wherein said electronic device further comprises:

– a chassis comprising a frame holding a circuit board holding said data processor and said communication unit, and further comprising connectors for functionally connecting said display module to said data processor and said camera module to said circuit board and a frame attachment part for mechanically releasably connecting said display module to said frame;
– said display module comprising a substantially flat display device comprising a display module back plate comprising a display attachment part, complementary to said frame attachment part for cooperating with said frame attachment part for mechanically releasably connecting said display module to said frame;
– said camera module comprising a camera device and a housing;
wherein said chassis comprises an opening having a shape adapted to fit at least part of said housing of said camera module.
The shape-fitting of the module housing in the chassis, in particular in the frame, provides secure attachment. In particular, in case alignment of devices in the electronic device is of importance.
In an embodiment, the electronic device further comprising at least one selected from
– a receiver module comprising an earpiece speaker and a housing, said chassis comprises an opening having a shape adapted to fit at least part of said housing of said receiver module, and
– a speaker module comprising a speaker and a housing, said chassis comprises an opening having a shape adapted to fit at least part of said housing of said speaker module.
These further modules may comprise components that also require alignment. Furthermore, the fitting provides alignment of other parts of the module, like for instance proper alignment of connectors for functionally connecting the module to the further electronic device. Furthermore, in an embodiment the fitting may be snap-fitting. In such an embodiment, no further attachment parts may be required, and assembling and disassembling may be easier.
In an embodiment, at least one of said camera module, said receiver module and said speaker module comprises a housing comprising an integrated conductive part comprising a contact lip contacting a common grounding plane provided by a conductive part integrated with said display module back plate at a rear surface of the display module. In particular, the conductive part is insert molded into the module housing. The insert comprises one or more contact lips
In this way, a module is less vulnerable, making changing easier. Furthermore, it is possible to commercially provide new modules with different and adapted functionality.
In an embodiment, said chassis comprises a physical bus for coupling said modules to said data processor. In an embodiment, said circuit board comprise said physical bus comprising a series of connectors for functionally coupling said modules. This provides an easy coupling, which is physical, and provides a functional coupling, allowing said modules to operate.
The physical bus can also be provided with an expansion port for allowing functional coupling of external devices, for allowing addition of additional functional parts and/or peripherals, for instance integrated in a back cover. In an embodiment, the expansion port extends and allows coupling at a side of said circuit boars opposite to the side provided with connectors for said modules. In an embodiment, that opposite side is the back or rear side of the device.
The invention further relates to a module for an electronic device, said module comprising a housing from a polymer composition and a conductive metal part integrate in said polymer composition and providing a structural part of said housing, said metal part comprising a flexible lip extending from said housing for in an assembled condition electrically contacting to a common grounding part of said electronic device.
The flexible lip, for instance resiliently biased away from the housing, makes connecting to further parts of the electronic device easier.
The invention further relates to an electronic device comprising a data processor, a communication unit for wireless communication, and a chassis comprising a frame, said electronic device comprising a at least one antenna unit coupled to said wireless communication unit, said antenna unit comprising an antenna provided on a substrate, a connector connected with said antenna and a connecting part connected with said substrate, and wherein said frame comprises a recess for supporting said substrate, a complementary connecting part for mechanically connecting to said connecting part of said antenna unit, and a connector for connecting with said connector of said antenna unit for functionally coupling said antenna with said communication unit.
The recess on the chassis, in particular on the frame, makes it easy to change the antenna unit, and holds the antenna unit secure in place. In a more general term, the antenna is provided on a carrier, in particular on a substrate.
The invention further relates to an electronic device comprising a communication unit for wireless communication on a common circuit board and a display module comprising a display on a back plate, and a chassis comprising a frame holding said circuit board, and releasably holding said back plate, wherein said electronic device further comprises at least one antenna unit coupled to said wireless communication unit via a coaxial lead comprising a shielding cladding grounded to a common grounding on the back of the back plate of said display module. In an embodiment, the shielding cladding is grounded via a contact to the common grounding.
The invention further relates to an electronic device comprising a data processor and a communication unit for wireless communication on a common circuit board defining a computational module, a display module comprising a display, a battery, and a chassis comprising a frame holding said circuit board, and releasably coupling display module, on one side, wherein said frame holds said battery electrically coupled to said circuit board on an opposite side of said frame, and said display module comprising an engaging part engaging said battery for blocking releasing of said display module from said frame while said battery is on said frame. The engaging part in an embodiment comprises a com.
The invention further relates to an electronic device comprising a data processor and a communication unit for wireless communication on a common circuit board defining a computational module, a display module comprising a display, a battery, and a chassis comprising a frame holding said circuit board, and releasably coupling display module, on one side, wherein said frame comprises an opening for snap-fittingly holding said battery electrically coupled to said circuit board on an opposite side of said frame, and said frame and said display module comprising holding parts for holding said display module and said frame locked together, wherein said display module further comprises a cam engaging said battery blocking releasing of said display module from said frame while said battery is snapped onto said frame.
The term “substantially” herein, like in “substantially consists”, will be understood by and clear to a person skilled in the art. The term “substantially” may also include embodiments with “entirely”, “completely”, “all”, etc. Hence, in embodiments the adjective substantially may also be removed. Where applicable, the term “substantially” may also relate to 90% or higher, such as 95% or higher, especially 99% or higher, even more especially 99.5% or higher, including 100%. The term “comprise” includes also embodiments wherein the term “comprises” means “consists of”.
The word “functionally” will be understood by, and be clear to, a person skilled in the art. The word “substantially” and “functionally” may also include embodiments with “entirely”, “completely”, “all”, etc. Hence, in embodiments these words functionally may also be removed. The word “functionally” is intended to cover variations in the feature to which it refers, and which variations are such that in the functional use of the feature, possibly in combination with other features it relates to in the invention, that combination of features is able to operate or function. For instance, if an antenna is functionally coupled or functionally connected to a communication device, received electromagnetic signals that are receives by the antenna can be used by the communication device. The word “substantially” can thus also cover an embodiment that in the configuration performs the same function. For instance, “substantially flat” thus covers “flat”, but also small deviations from absolutely flat that still performs as is if it were flat.
Furthermore, the words first, second, third and the like in the description and in the claims, are used for distinguishing between similar elements and not necessarily for describing a sequential or chronological order. It is to be understood that the terms so used are interchangeable under appropriate circumstances and that the embodiments of the invention described herein are capable of operation in other sequences than described or illustrated herein.
The devices or apparatus herein are amongst others described during operation. As will be clear to the person skilled in the art, the invention is not limited to methods of operation or devices in operation.
It should be noted that the above-mentioned embodiments illustrate rather than limit the invention, and that those skilled in the art will be able to design many alternative embodiments without departing from the scope of the appended claims. In the claims, any reference signs placed between parentheses shall not be construed as limiting the claim. Use of the verb “to comprise” and its conjugations does not exclude the presence of elements or steps other than those stated in a claim. The article “a” or “an” preceding an element does not exclude the presence of a plurality of such elements. The invention may be implemented by means of hardware comprising several distinct elements, and by means of a suitably programmed computer. In the device or apparatus claims enumerating several means, several of these means may be embodied by one and the same item of hardware. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage.
The invention further applies to an apparatus or device comprising one or more of the characterising features described in the description and/or shown in the attached drawings. The invention further pertains to a method or process comprising one or more of the characterising features described in the description and/or shown in the attached drawings.
The various aspects discussed in this patent can be combined in order to provide additional advantages. Furthermore, some of the features can form the basis for one or more divisional applications.

Brief description of the drawings

Drawings (opens in new tab)
Embodiments of an electronic device will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying schematic drawings in which corresponding reference symbols indicate corresponding parts, and in which is shown in:
Figure 1a, 1b schematically an electronic device in front and rear view in perspective;
Figure 2 schematically the electronic device of figure 1 taken apart;
Figure 3 schematically the electronic device of figure 1 in exploded view, seen from the front side or display side;
Figure 4 schematically the electronic device of figure 1 in exploded view, seen from the rear side or back cover side;
Figure 5 schematically the electronic device of figure 1 in complete exploded view, seen from the front side or display side;
Figure 6 schematically a rear view of a chassis of the electronic device of figure 1 in perspective view from the display side, and a detail as indicated;
Figure 7 schematically a detail of the rear of a display module as indicated in figure 4;
Figure 8 schematically a further detail of the rear of a display module as indicated in figure 4;
Figures 9, 9a, 9b schematically a rear view in perspective of the electronic device of figure 1 with a back cover removed, and details as indicated in figures 9a and 9b;
Figure 10 schematically an exploded view of a camera module of the electronic device of figure 1;
Figure 11 schematically an exploded view of a receiver module of the electronic device of figure 1;
Figure 12 schematically an exploded view of a speaker module of the electronic device of figure 1;
Figure 13 schematically an exploded view of a chassis of the electronic device of figure 1;
Figure 14 schematically an exploded view of the electronic device of figure 1 showing the various antennas;
Figure 15 schematically a detail of the chassis of the electronic device of figure 1 as indicated in figure 2;
The drawings are not necessarily on scale.

Description of preferred embodiments

In the drawings, the same reference numbers indicate the same of functionally the same parts. Not all the parts are indicated in every drawing.

Figure 1a schematically depicts an electronic device 1 in front view and figure 1b in rear view. Here the electronic device 1 is a portable device, more in particular a handheld device, specifically a mobile phone, also referred to as a “smart phone”. As explained above, the electronic device 1 can also be a tablet, for instance. The electronic device 1 has a display side 2, provided with a display 3. The electronic device 1 here has a (physical) connector 6, suited for data and/or power for providing the electronic device 1 with electrical power. Here that connecter 6 is provided at the lower end of the electronic device 1.
The electronic device 1 further has a rear side 4 opposite the display side 2 and which is provided with a back cover 5. The back cover 5 is provided with an opening or an optical window 7 for a camera.
The display 3 in this embodiment is planar. The display 3 defined a display plane.
Figure 2 schematically shows the electronic device 1 of figures 1a and 1b taken apart. The electronic device 1 has a modular structure in which several components are grouped together into modules, as explained earlier. These modules can be removed and replaced, repaired and/or upgraded individually. Figure 2 shows the various modules, back cover 5, chassis 9 and battery 10 all from their side that in assembled condition is directed to the display side 2 of electronic device 1. Figure 3 schematically shows the electronic device 1 of figure 1a, 1b in exploded view, seen from the front side or display side 2, and Figure 4 schematically shows the electronic device 1 of figure 1 in exploded view, seen from the rear side 4 or back cover side. Thus, the rear side 4 of each module (in assembled state) can be seen. Some parts are shown in more detail in the indicated figures 7, 8, 15, here indicated in the Roman numeral system, and will be discussed later. The electronic device 1 comprises a display module 8. The electronic device 1 further comprises a chassis 9. Here, chassis 9 comprises a frame 11 that is provided with a circuit board (usually a printed circuit board or PCB) 12 that is attached to the frame 11 and forms a computation and communication module with the components that are attached to it, like a data processor, a communication unit, and various connectors. Battery 10 is here snapped onto frame 11 and is in electrical contact with the circuit board 12 for providing electrical power to the electronic device 1.
The electronic device 1 here comprises a receiver module 13 which will be discussed in more detail later. The electronic device further comprises a camera module 14. The electronic device here further comprises a speaker module 15. All these modules will be discussed later in more detail.
In this embodiment, the circuit board 12 is provided with connectors 16, 17, 18, 19 for electrically connecting each of the modules 8, 13, 14, 15 to the circuit board 12 in order to provide a functional coupling which is here is in a physical manner. The connectors 16, 17, 18, 19 comprise substantially in a direction of the rear side compressible electrical contact pins. The connectors will be discussed in more detail later.
In figures 2 and 3 the inner surface of the back cover 5 can be seen. Around the camera opening 22 a sealing rim is provided which here seals against ingress of dirt and moisture at the camera module 14 location. The back cover is further provided with a pressure rim 21 for in a mounted state of the back cover 5 pressing against the rear surface of the battery 10. The back cover 5 is further provided with a flexible, resilient rim 20 which fits round the circumference of the display module 8 and reaches to the display side 2. Figure 1 shows this. In this way, the back cover 5 seals the electronic device 1 against ingress of dust, dirt and moisture. The current electronic device 1 thus needs no further cover, like known electronic devices require or often have. In an embodiment, the central part of the back cover 5 is from a plastic material, comprising a flexible, resilient rim 20 of an elastomeric material. The back cover 5 may be produced in a bi-component moulding process, or for instance in a multi-component 3D printing process. The ingress protection seals in an embodiment prevent water and dust ingress. In figure 6 (and figures 9, 13 and 14, and a part in figure 9a next to arrow S, for instance), it can be seen that the frame 9 has additional rails at its sides just above the line end of reference 9. These rails allow attachment of an alternative sliding back cover 5. It can snap behind the end of the rails. The rails extend parallel to direction S at both opposite sides of the frame 9, as shown in figure 9.
The frame 11 of the chassis comprises several provisions for positioning modules, and for keeping the modules positioned.
To that end, the frame 11 comprises here two receiver module openings 24, having a shape that is adapted to at least part of the shape of the receiver module 13. In the embodiment, the receiver module 13 can be positions into place with its two extremities fittingly positioned in the openings 24. For further fixing, the receiver module 13 has holes for fitting screws for attaching the receiver module 13 to the frame.
The frame 11 further comprises a camera module opening 25, again having a shape that is adapted to at least part of the shape of the camera module 14. This again allows positioning into place in a secure manner, preventing wrong assembly and securing the camera module 14 in position on the frame 11. Also the camera module has two openings for fitting screws for fixing the camera module onto frame 11.
The frame 11 further comprises a battery opening 26 for holding battery 10. It comprises wall elements and lips (see figure 4) working together for snap-fittingly holding battery 10 into position in opening 26 of frame 11. The battery 10 in assembled state of the electronic device 1 is further held between the back cover battery pressure rim 21 end the rear surface of display module 8. The display module is here positioned onto frame 9 in a sliding motion, sliding the display module 8 down (to the lower part of the paper). It was found that removing the display module from the frame 11 while the battery 10 was still electrically connected to the circuit board 12 can be harmful to the electronic device 1. In order to prevent removal of the display module 8 from the chassis 9, in particular from frame 11, a cam 28 is provided on the rear surface of display module 8. Cam 28 is positioned to abut battery 10 when display module 8 is slid with respect to frame 11 with battery 10 fitted to the chassis 9. Cam 28 is shown in more detail in figure 7. The relatively small cam 28 proved to be sufficient to prevent sliding of the display module 8 when the battery 10 was in place.
Figure 5 schematically the electronic device of figure 1 in complete exploded view, seen from the front side or display side 2.
Display module 8 in this embodiment comprises a display 3 with a touchscreen. This configuration as such is common in so called smartphones. The display 3 or display device is substantially planar. The display 3 can be an LCD display, an OLED display, or any other type of display 3 known to the skilled person and used in electronic devices, in particular electronic devices like mobile phones, tablets, notebooks, and the like. The display module 8 further comprises in this embodiment a protective glass plate 38. The display module also comprises a touchscreen sensor, which may be integrated in the display 3 in the case of in-cell sensing, or through he use of an additional sensing layer between the display 3 and the protective glass plate 38.
At its rear, the display module comprises a display module back plate 36. This back plate 36 has various functions. It provides strength, rigidity and means for attaching the display module 8 to the frame 11 of chassis 9. The back plate 36 comprises a reinforcement part which in that embodiment is from a conductive material. Thus, in this embodiment it provides both stiffness to the display module as a equipotential plane. In the current design, the conductive back plate part 27 is a magnesium plate. In the current embodiment the conductive back plate part 27 integrated into the display module back plate 36 via an insert-moulding process. The conductive back plate 27 is placed as an insert in an double shot-moulding process and the further display module back plate 36 is injection moulded around is, leaving the back surface of the conductive back plate part 27 free for electrical connection to the various further modules of the electronic device.
In the current embodiment, the display module back plate 36 comprises a circumferential rim 37. This circumferential rim 37 here fits around the display 3 and around the protective glass plate 38.
Indicated in figure 5 and also in figure 2 are furthermore display attachment parts 30. One of these display attachment parts 30 is also in more detail visible in figures 7 and 8. These display attachment parts 30 work together with frame attachment parts 31. These frame attachment parts 31 are indicated in figure 3 and in figure 6 in detail.
An embodiment of the display attachment part 30 is depicted in more detail in figures 7 and 8. The display attachment part 30 provides an abutment in a direction cross with respect to the display 3. This abutment of display attachment part 30 works together with an abutment.
In an embodiment, the display attachment parts 30 provides hook elements, and the frame attachment parts 31 provides a complementary hook elements. With the display module slid into place on the frame 11 with its display attachment parts 30 engaging the frame attachment parts 31 of frame 11, the hook elements and complementary hook elements provide mutual abutment in a direction perpendicular with respect to the display 3 and perpendicular to the frame 11. Thus, the display module 8 is locked to the frame 11 in a direction perpendicular to the display. Furthermore, the hook elements and complementary hook elements provide mutual abutment in a direction in the plane of the display 3 and perpendicular to the slide direction. In this way, the display module 8 and chassis 11 are furthermore locked in those directions. Furthermore, at least one selected from at least one of the display attachment parts 30 and at least one of the frame attachment parts 31 provides a slide abutment 39 (figure 6). Slide abutment 39 blocks (further) sliding of the display module 8 and the chassis 9 with respect to one another. At that position, the display module 8 and the chassis 9 are properly aligned. In the current embodiment, a slide abutment 39 is indicated in the detail of figure 6, here provided on the frame 11. One of the frame attachment part 31 will abut that slide abutment 39.
In the current embodiment, the hook element and the complementary hook element comprise a cam 40 and notch 41 (figs 6, 7 and 8) which provide an snap-lock when the display module and chassis 11 are properly aligned.
Indicated in figure 5 are furthermore display module locking latches 29. In figure 4 the display module locking latches 29 are shown mounted in the display module 8, in particular on the display module back plate 36. In figure 8 the display module locking latch 29 is shown in detail, and in figure 9 the display module locking latch 29 is shown in a locked position when locking the display module 8 onto frame 11 of the chassis. The arrow in figure 9 indicates the latching direction L of the display module locking latch 29, for bringing the display module locking latch 29 into a released position. In its locked position (in figure 9), the display module locking latch 29 engages frame lock cam 32, indicated in figures 2 and 3, and in figure 6 in more detail.
The display module locking latch 29 provides a display lock part and the corresponding frame lock cam 32 provides a frame lock part.
The display module locking latch 29 here runs on a rail end provided on the display module 8. The rail end is provided at an end of the display module 8. It runs cross, in particular rectangular, to the display slide direction S. Figures 8-9b show this in more detail.
When attaching display module 8 onto the chassis 9, the following is done. It is assumed that the other modules are already placed on the chassis 9. The display module is placed on top of the frame 11, with its conductive plate towards the frame and its display side away from the frame 11. The display module 8 is not placed exactly on top of frame 11, but a little displaced in the direction opposite to the slide direction S. The user now slides the display module in the slide direction S, with the display attachment parts 30 snapping onto the frame attachment parts 31. The display module 8 slides until it engages one or more of the slide abutments 39. Now, the two display module locking latches 29 of this embodiment are slid in outward direction (the slide 29 of figure 8 to the right) until they slide over the corresponding frame lock cams 32 of frame 11. Now, the display module 8 can no longer slide back. The display module 8 is locked onto chassis 11.
To remove the display module 8 from an electronic device 1, first back cover 5 needs to be removed. Next, battery 10 needs to be removed as it blocks display module 8 via cam 28. Now, the two display module locking latches 29 need to be slid inwardly. Now, the display module 8 can slide in direction S in the display plane. Display module 8 usually slides only a few mm, for instance 1-5 mm, in particular between 1-5 mm. The respective attachment parts 30 and 31 disengage and the display module 8 can be lifted off of the frame 11 and off of the chassis 9.
Figure 6 schematically shows a rear view of the chassis 9 of the electronic device 1 of figure 1 in perspective view from the display side 2. On the chassis 9, the receiver module 13, the camera module 14, the speaker module 15 and the battery are installed. The display module 8 is removed. Normally, is configuration with battery 10 in place is not possible, as the presence of battery 10 prevents removal of the display module 8 as explained earlier.
Figure 6 shows a front view of the electronic device 1 with the display module 8 removed but with the battery 10 re-added. Here, a display connector 16 is shown. Functionally alike connectors 17, 18 and 19 are used for functionally coupling other modules. The connectors 16, 17, 18, 19 comprise a series of contact pins 34 (only two specifically indicated) that comprise contacting ends that are biased in the display direction. In the embodiment shown in the figures, so called ‘pogo pins’ 34 are used to that end. A Pogo pin 34 is known in general and relates to a device that can be used in electronics to establish a (usually temporary) connection between two printed circuit boards. A pogo pin 34 here takes the form of a slender cylinder containing one or two spring-loaded pins. Pressed between two electronic circuits, the contacts or tips at each end of the pogo pin 34 make secure contacts with the two circuits and thereby connect them together. In the current invention, single spring pogo pins are employed with one end of the pogo pin being electrically connected to a circuit board. In order to prevent the series of contacts to radiate electromagnetic radiation, the series of contacts of a connector are enclosed by a shielding ring 35 of conductive material. In the current invention, the opposite connector end comprises a series of corresponding contact patches, positioned for a patch to correspond with a contact pin 34. The contact patches are surrounded by a closed, ring-shaped shielding patch surrounding the contact patches. This is not shown in the drawings.
Thus, one end of a connector 16, 17, 18, 19 comprises a series of pogo pins 34, for instance enclosed by a shielding ring or rim 35 of conductive material. The other end of the connector comprises a series of contact patches that correspond to the series of pogo pings and a closed, ring-shaped shielding patch surrounding the contact patches and corresponding to the shielding ring 35 of conductive material. The contacting shielding patch and the shielding ring together form part of a Faraday cage around contacting contact pins 34 and corresponding contact patches (not shown)
In figure 6 are furthermore rail parts 33 indicated on the longitudinal sides of frame 11. These rail parts 33 can work together with parts of a back cover to provide a slide-on cover. In the current drawings, the back cover 5 that is shown is of the “snap-on” type that snaps around the complete sides of electronic device 1. The back cover 5 here thus seals against the front surface or display side 2 of the display 3.
In figure 6 it is furthermore shown how all the modules, like the receiver module 13, camera module 14, speaker module 15 and the computational module, are all provided with a module ground plate 44. The module ground plates 44 all comprise one or more module ground contact lip 45. These contact lips 45 are flexible in a direction normal to the grounds plate 44. The contact lips here all extend in one plane. When a display module 8 is attached to frame 9, the contact lips 45 will contact the conductive back plate 27 of the display module 8. In this way, all the modules of the electronic device have a common ground. Furthermore, the ground plates 44 shield the modules at least partly from electromagnetic interference.
Figure 7 schematically shows a detail of the rear of a display module 8 as indicated in figure 4. It shows in detail the battery blocking cam 28 that engages the battery 10, in particular a side or ledge of the battery. This prevents the display module 8 to be slid in its display slide direction S. Thus, a display module 8 can not be removed from frame 11 as long as a battery 10 is in place. In this way, strong voltage changes on the other components/modules can be prevented.
Figure 7 further shows an embodiment of a display attachment part 30. It comprises a cam 40 that allows a snap fit with the notch 41 in a corresponding frame attachment part 31. The display attachment part 30 has a complementary slide abutment 39 that abuts the slide abutment 39 of the frame attachment part 31. Thus, the display module 8 and chassis 9 can slide until they are mutually aligned.
Figure 8 schematically shows a further detail of the lower part of the rear of a display module 8 as indicated in figure 4. In this detail, as well as in the detail of figure 7, one of the display attachment parts 30 is shown.
In figure 8, in more detail the locking latch 29 is shown. The locking latch 29 can be seem further in figures 9, 9a and 9b. The locking latch 29 works together with frame lock cams 32. The locking latch 29 runs on a rail 62 provided on the frame 11, as can be seen in figure 8. The rail 62 is aligned parallel to the latch directions indicated with arrow L, that indicated that the locking latch 29 can move back and forth. The rail 62 and slide directions are here perpendicular to the display slide direction S. The frame 11 is provided with a lip that extends in the direction of the rail 62. The lip is provided with a frame lock cam 32. The lip is flexible in a direction perpendicular to the lock direction L and to the slide direction S. In operation, the locking latch 29 can be moved from an unlocked position in figure 9b to a locked position in figure 9a. When moving from the unlocked position to the locked position, the lip will bend in the direction of the display module 8. When the locking latch 29 is in the locked position, the cam 32 on the lip will snap in a notch (not visible) of behind a ledge in locking latch 29.
Figure 9 schematically shows a rear view, in perspective view, of the electronic device 1 of figure 1 with a back cover removed, and details as indicated, shown in figures 9a and 9b. In figure 9, the camera module 14 has been removed, showing a camera module opening 25 in the chassis. This opening 25 and part of the shape of the camera module 14 are adapted to one another in order to further hold the camera module 14 in place on the chassis 9.
In figure 9, an expansion port 100 is indicated. This expansion port 100 is coupled to the printed circuit board of the computational module 12. In the current modular design, such an expansion port can be added easily. In fact, on the printed circuit board a (physical) bus is formed onto which for instance the connectors 16-19 are also attached and coupled. The expansion port 100 extends here to the opposite side, providing a coupling possibility at the rear side 4. In this modular design, integration of the expansion port 100 is relatively easy. And when removing the protective back cover 5, the expansion port 100 becomes easily accessible.
The expansion port 100 may provide at least one of for instance bi-directional data connectivity, for instance via a standard USB interface, power output, for instance to electronics in the back cover 5, or power input, like via a power source in the back cover 5, e.g. an additional battery pack or solar charger to charge the phone’s internal battery.
The expansion port 100 in an embodiment comprises flexible contacts, for instance the already mentioned pogo pins.
This way, additional functionality can be added by changing the back cover 5. For instance, the back cover can be provided with a power source like additional battery and/or solar panel, or even an additional display, like an e-ink or OLED screen, or other peripherals like sensors like for instance a motion sensor, a temperature sensor, a pressure sensor, a contact/touch sensor, a gas sensor, pripherals like LEDs, like external data carriers like for instance SD Card connectors, like additional speakers, or like biomedical scanners like fingerprint scanner, and the like, and combinations thereof.
These peripherals may also be coupled to the expansion port in an alternative way.
In figures 10-13 various modules will be discusses. Most of the modules comprise a housing. Here, the housings have a front housing part 42, a rear housing part 43, and a shielding plate 44. Often, the modules are provided with a module circuit board 46. The housing parts are commonly injection moulded, but may also be 3D printed, for instance. The shielding plate 44 is a conductive plate, often a metal plate, like a thin stainless steel or other sheet metal. The conductive plate can be thin. It may be integrated to the or with the front housing part, for instance in the 3D printing process polymer material may be printed on the conductive plate. When injection moulding, the conductive plate may be an inlay in the mould.
In the embodiments shown, the shielding plate 44 has assembly lips 54 that snap behind cams on the housing parts. The shielding plates 44 of the modules provide shielding, but also a common ground plane together with the conductive back plate part 27 of the display module 8. In fact, the display module here has a housing formed by the protective glass plate 38 on the front and the display module back plate 36 on its rear side. Integrated in the display module back plate 36 is a conductive back plate part 27. It is integrated into the further material of the display module back plate 36. For instance, using 3D printing of polymer material around the conductive back plate 27, or for instance using the conductive back plate 27 as an inlay in a mould in an injection moulding process. Here the conductive back plate 27 is functionally coupled to one end of the battery 10 for providing a common ground. All the shielding plates 44 of the modules comprise one or more module ground contact lips 45 that are here formed out of the plate material. These lips 45 are flexible and biased towards (when installed) the conductive back plate 27 of the display module. When the modules are installed and mounted on the chassis 9, the module ground contact lips 45 press against the conductive back plate 27 of the display module 8.
Various modules will be discussed in more detail in figures 10-13.
Figure 10 schematically shows an exploded view of a camera module 14 of the electronic device 1 of figure 1. It is shown from its rear side. The camera module 14 here comprises a rear-viewing camera. The camera module comprises a camera device 53. Such a camera is known to the skilled person, and may comprise a CMOS and/or CCD camera or the like. The camera module 14 further comprises a flash device 52. Usually, the flash device comprises one or more LED components. The components of the camera module are housed in a housing, as explained earlier. The housing comprises a part that has a shape adapted to fit into a dedicated opening in the chassis 9.
Figure 11 schematically shows an exploded view of a receiver module 13 of the electronic device 1 of figure 1. In this embodiment, the receiver module comprises a receiver which acts as an earpiece speaker 65, and also may provide hearing aid coupling. Here, the receiver module further comprises a speaker 65, a front-viewing camera device 66, a light sensor, and a jack for an earpiece or headset. The receiver module like other modules comprises a housing with shielding/grounding provisions. The housing comprise a housing part shaped to fit an opening in the chassis. Here, the receiver module has two housing parts that are shaped to fit two openings in the chassis, in particular in the frame.
Figure 12 schematically shown an exploded view of a speaker module 15 of the electronic device 1 of figure 1. The speaker module here comprises a speaker 65. In the current embodiment, the speaker module further comprises a vibrator 67 (see figure 3) a power connector 6 for the mains/charging, the main microphone 68 and a rubber booth around the microphone 68. The speaker module comprises a speaker module sealing 47.
Figure 13 schematically shows an exploded view of a chassis 9 of the electronic device 1 of figure 1. Here, the computational module 12 is shown in an exploded view.
The computational module 12 comprises a module circuit board 46. Here, for the computational module 12 the module circuit board 46 is extended. The extended circuit board provides a logical bus for coupling modules to the computational module 12. Thus, the extended circuit board comprises the various connectors 16-19 described above.
Another aspect than makes the computational module different from the other modules is that it comprises components, in particular integrated circuits like for instance a data processor, which produce relatively much heat at a relatively small surface area. To that end, part of the housing of the computational module 12 has integrated thermal passive cooling provisions. In this embodiment, first a heat pipe foam is placed on the most heat dissipating components, like the data processor. This to spread the heat quickly to a larger area. Next, a heat conductive layer holds the heat pipe foam on its place. This heat conductive layer is in thermal contact with the heat pipe foam.
Finally, a graphite layer 69 is provided in thermal contact between the module shield plate 44 and the heat conductive layer. This setup dissipates and spreads the heat over a larger area as fast as possible.
Figure 14 schematically shows an exploded view of the electronic device 1 of figure 1 showing the various antenna units 57, 58, 59, 60, 61. Here, the device comprises the following antenna units:
57 main cellular antenna for GSM, WCDMA and LTE;
58 WIFI/BT antenna;
59 MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) high band antenna;
60 GPS antenna;
61 MIMO low band antenna;
Except for the main cellular antenna 57, which is made using a laser direct structuring process, the antenna units 58-61 are here provided with a flexible substrate, for instance on a plastic backed metal foil. The antenna units are placed in a recess on the chassis and coupled to a lead that conducts the antenna signals to the receiver module 13.
All these antenna units are here placed into recesses on frame 11. If for instance for regional differences slightly different communication bands are needed, it is relatively easy to replace an antenna unit. An antenna unit may be provided with a connector that snap-fits or form-fits onto a connector end on the chassis. Thus, an antenna unit is mechanically connected to the frame and thus to the chassis. Here, the connector also functionally connects an antenna unit to the communication device.
Figure 15 schematically shows a detail of the chassis of the electronic device 1 of figure 1 as indicated in figure 2, showing the grounding of a coaxial (shortly coax) line 55 for an antenna unit, here the main cellular antenna 57. The coax line has a shielding cladding or sheath that is grounded to the conductive back plate 27 of the display module, just like the other modules. To that end, to ensure a reliant grounding, the coax line 55 has a spring contact or for instance a “pogo” pin contact 56 that has one end connected to the shielding of the coax line and a biased end to connect to the conductive back plate 27 when the display module 8 is installed on the chassis. The pin 56 in an embodiment comprises a cylindrical bus comprising a coaxial, biased or spring-loaded pin.
In summary, the current invention relates to at least one of the following.
A modular smart device design intended to allow consumers to repair and/or to replace and/or to upgrade various modules and/or components within a smart device without specialist knowledge or tools. Smart devices are fragile and are prone to breakages, the present invention allows a user of the device to remove a series of modules that contain the most commonly broken elements of a smart device and replace these easily without specialist equipment. The clustering of the respective components that are prone to damage has been carefully considered to ensure that over 80% of the most likely to be damaged parts are changeable by module / user replacement.
To enable the user of a device to either upgrade of repair a smart device easily and quickly and for a low cost.
The implementation of the overall design and the grouping of the components in various modules brings a number of benefits. Firstly it allows the creation of interfaces for each module which can be standardised for each type of module. This is reflected in both the mechanical and electronic design of the interfaces. The interfaces have been designed to reduce pin count and to allow where possible the abstraction of the module from the computational and communication (CC) module to allow of upgradability in the future. Modules have been designed to minimise complexity and pin requirements and are grouped in clusters by the likely hood of breaking. For example, we have separated items that have high breaking opportunities to avoid that if one module does break this often results in replacement of a high cost module. For example, we do not include the cameras into the display module as both have a high incidence of breaking and are both high cost items. The selection of the components incorporated into each module is novel as it groups device functions both by proxy to where they are most likely to be used but also to the damaged they may sustain. An example of that if the device is dropped and it hits the ground on the bottom edge it may damage the power connectors on the bottom of the phone. We have grouped mechanical devices that are also subject to mechanical drop damage, such as the vibrator, into the same module. In this way only one module needs to be changed if more than one components is damaged by a drop. We also looked at the cost structure of modules. For example as mentioned earlier, we have not located the cameras and display module together in one module as these are all high breakage items and therefore this module would be changed more frequently and also the cost of these components is high. So if a display module included cameras, and all that was broken was the display, the user would be paying for cost of the cameras to be replaced even if they this instance they where not damaged.
As mentioned, displays are frequently broken and touch panel are damaged. It was first found that about 33% of the devices suffer from an accident of failure during their lifetime. Over 50% of all smart devices repairs are for broken displays. User often have to return the device to the manufacturer to have displays replaced, leaving them without the use of the device.
The novelty in this aspect stems from the display module latching / clipping and mechanical features of the design which allow for a robust product while still allowing the display to be removed. The section of magnesium for the main display frame provides rigidity. The frame is designed to use plastic that is double shot injected or overmoulded into the section of magnesium, provided as an inlay. The plastic part provides for the clip features to be formed. This allows the clips to bend and flex during assembly and disassembly and to be more durable. The use of a standardised interface which is designed to reduce crosstalk and has a novel grounding solution (see later) and abstracts the specific’s of the display electronics from the device electronics allows the display to be upgraded in future. The display module here does not include the automatic light sensor (ALS) nor the camera. There is a novel detail that allow the ALS and the front facing camera to reside in the receiver module so that the cost of the display module can be kept as low as possible, and the ALS and camera do not need to be needlessly replaced when the display is changed.
The display module includes the display and touch panel and can be replaced without any tools by the user simply removing the rear case, removing the battery, sliding a catch and then sliding the display module off the smart device. To install a new or replacement display is the reversal of removal. Displays can also be upgraded as the display electronic interface is abstracted from the CC module. The use of a standard interface which abstracts the phones electronics from the display allows for new upgraded displays to be fitted to the smart device later. The location of the clips around the display connector are very specially designed to ensure that good contact is maintained between the pogo pins and the display printed circuit board (PCB) such as when throwing the smart device on to a table top which could cause a minor disconnection on one pogo pin which may result in a malfunction of the device.
Camera and flash breakages account for approx. 10% of all Smart device repairs. Users often have to return their device to the manufacturer for the camera or flash to be repaired, leaving them without the use of their device.
The novelty stems in this aspect from the camera module latching and mechanical features of the design which allow for a robust product while still allowing the camera to be removed. It relates to the use of a standardised interface which is designed to reduce crosstalk and has a novel grounding solution (see later) and abstracts the specific’s of the camera electronics from the device electronics, which allows the camera to be upgraded in future.
The camera module includes both the camera module and the camera flash/phone flashlight and can be replaced by removing 2 standard Phillips screws (tools available to most users). The vertical insertion and the specific design of the camera module prevent incorrect assembly by the user.
Front camera breakages/defects account for approx. 4% of breakages in smart devices. Audio jack breakages account for approx. 4% of all breakages in smart devices, and receiver and sensor breakages/defects account for approx. 2-3 % of all smart device repairs. Again, users often have to return their device to the manufacturer for these components to be repaired leaving them without the use of their device.
The novelty in an aspect further stems from the receiver module latching and mechanical features of the design, which allow for a robust product while still allowing the receiver module to be removed. The use of a standardised interface which is designed to reduce crosstalk and has a novel grounding solution (see later) allows the receiver module to be changed easily. Sealing of the camera and ALS devices allowing them to seal against the sliding display module but be mounted in the display module which is novel and reduces the complexity of the display module and the cost.
The receiver module includes in an embodiment the front facing camera, the receiver, the automatic light sensor (ALS), the status LED and the earpiece audio jack. It can be replaced by removing 2 standard Phillips screws (tools available to most users). Vertical insertion and the specific design of the receiver module prevent incorrect assembly by the user.
Power connector (USB) breakages/defects account for approx. 3% of breakages in smart devices. Speaker breakages account for approx. 4% of all breakages in smart devices, and vibrator breakages/defects account for approx. 2-3 % of all smart device. Again, repairs for which users often have to return their device to the manufacturer for these components to be repaired, leaving them without the use of their device.
The novelty stems in this aspect from the speaker module latching and mechanical features of the design which allow for a robust product while still allowing the speaker module to be removed. It includes the use of an standardised interface which is designed to reduce crosstalk and has a novel grounding solution ( see later), and which allows the speaker module to be changed easily. Sealing of the USB connector provides a method to stop the ingress of fluids/dust, which is a common failure mechanism in smart devices.
The speaker module here includes the micro USB power connector, the speaker, and the vibration motor. It can be replaced by removing 2 standard Phillips screws (tools available to most users). Vertical insertion and the specific design of the speaker module prevent incorrect assembly by the user.
The abstraction of the computational and communications (CC) module from the peripherals of the smart device allows for both the CC module to be altered for another type of CC module for repair purposes or for upgrade. The biggest benefit of the creation of the CC module is that CC modules have a longer lifetime than the peripheral of a smart device and are improved on a slower cadence – for example a transition from 4G to 5G networks will take a number of years to replace one another. It is these types of changes that drive changes in the CC module, where as display and camera technology will undergo several generation changes and improvements during this time.
An aspect of the novelty of the CC module is that it provides a set of standard interfaces either/or mechanical/electrical that allow the replacement and upgrade of peripherals connected to or that are part of the smart device. The CC module in an embodiment has a unique design of pogo connectors which have a novel grounding solution allowing the robust grounding of signals for high speed communications buses such as the Mobile Industry Peripherals Interface (MIPI) whilst allowing easy assembly and disassembly.
The computational and communications module in an embodiment includes the application processor, memory, storage, RF Circuitry, gyro scopes, magnetometer and E-Compass. Together with the module connectors and associated shielding, all these components are here mounted on a single uniform PCB. CC evolution changes at a slower speed compared to the peripheral modules. Thereby abstracting the modules allows for the CC to remain constant and mature whilst the user desired peripheral enhancements can be repaired or added or upgraded to the smart device without having to upgrade the CC module. The CC module in an embodiment has only semiconductor components mounted onto it, meaning that is more robust than the other modules and hence less likely to break. It is the intention that the elements that can or do get damaged in a smart device are located or grouped intelligently into one or other of the smart device modules.
The design of the antenna in an embodiment allows the frequency range of the antenna to be changed without having to redesign the CC module or the mechanics of the smart device.
An aspect of the novelty of the design is that it isolates the main antenna that maybe subject to change for different geographies. In an aspect, a constraint of the design is such that it can be altered for frequency without a major redesign of the device. In one embodiment this alteration could be a late stage, and be configurable or customisation or can be a user changeable item.
Mounting of the communications antennas in this way provides flexibility to the design and a longer lifetime to the CC module.
The novelty of an aspect of this design is that it moves the antennas of the CC module and connects them via flying leads that allow for design flexibility, and places them in the chassis.
The main antenna can be formed using laser direct structuring (LDS) and in an embodiment has been designed in such a way as that it can be changed and modified for adaption of the phone to different markets around the world who may operate some of their WWAN commutations networks at different frequencies without having to redesign the entire smart device. The antenna is mounted on a piece of high permeability material that provides mechanical support and good dielectric isolation.
The communications antennas in an embodiment have been designed to be located into the chassis of the smart device on flying leads that are connected to the CC module via spring connectors. This allows for easy repair with no soldering and allows for the creation of new antennas for different frequencies. It abstracts the antenna placement from the design of the CC module and the casing of the smart device.
Another aspect relates to the prevention of the module connectors, formed via Pogo pins, from radiating unwanted or harmful RF energy into and/or externally from the device.
The novelty of an aspect is that in an embodiment, the connectors use a low resistivity outer shield that is connected through a low resistivity flexible gasket to contact to a grounding plane on the module PCB. In an embodiment, the connector shield is connected to the screw bosses on the connector which then provide grounding to the shield which are insert molded into the top of the modules. These shields have grounding tags on them which provide further grounding to that back of the display module which provides large ground plane which the RF and unwanted electromagnetic energy can dissipate into.
The use of Pogo pins to connect high speed signals such as MIPI can pose problems in that the Pogo pins acts as an antenna and will radiate RF energy which may interfere with other electronics in the smart device. In an embodiment, a grounding solution is provided, comprising electronic grounding and RF shielding for these signals whilst at the same time allowing the module to easily replaced without the use of specialist tools
To provide a mechanical moveable though good RF ground for the antenna coax, in an embodiment the ground plane of the device is located on the rear of the display module. To provide a good RF ground for the main Antenna PCB, the ground plane again is located on the rear of the display module
Another problem is to prevent RF energy being radiated from the Coax into/ out of the smart device or back onto the RF PA output.
In an embodiment, novelty of this aspect is that it provides a solid ground path for the antenna coax to the display module ground and which is able to move as the display module is removed.
A further or additional aspect is to allow upgrade of the smart device peripheral’s and modules without changing the CC module design.
A careful selection of interface signals and powers supply signals reduces the number of pins, and provides for the modules to be isolated from the CC module. This allows for future upgrades. An example of this is the rear facing camera and the display interface PCB.
Another aspect is to provide enhanced sealing of the smart device against dust and fluids ingress.
An aspect of the novelty an embodiment of this part of the device is that the rear case is designed to cover the sides of the phone and in doing so provides ingress protection (IP) sealing to the device.
In an embodiment, the use of sealing techniques in the outer cover and for the smart device external connectors provides enhanced IP protection to the device at minimal cost.
In order to prevent damage to display or CC module or other module when removing the display while the device is powered on or while the battery is attached.
The novelty in this aspect comprises that the display module and the battery module are mechanically linked to prevent the display module from being moved while the battery is in its operating position.
A further aspect relates to enabling case design differentiation using a common chassis design.
The chassis in an embodiment has been designed to accept either a snap over rear case and/or cover or a sliding rear case cover. This gives the user the choice of different mechanical case designs with the same smart device product and to provide for differentiation between different smart device models using the same core components. The locating elements for the rear case in an embodiment also act as strengthening features for the chassis. The chassis in the embodiment comprises an I-Beam section along the side of the chassis of the device, adding greatly to the strength of the product.
The creation of different modules allows for shorter more flexible manufacturing lines and optimised module assembly lines which reduces cost and improves quality
It will also be clear that the above description and drawings are included to illustrate some embodiments of the invention, and not to limit the scope of protection. Starting from this disclosure, many more embodiments will be evident to a skilled person. These embodiments are within the scope of protection and the essence of this invention and are obvious combinations of prior art techniques and the disclosure of this patent.
Reference numbers
1 electronic device
2 display side
3 display
4 rear side
5 back cover
6 physical connector for power and/or data
7 camera opening in back cover
8 display module
9 chassis
10 battery
11 frame
12 computational and communication module on printed circuit board
13 receiver module
14 camera module
15 speaker module
16 display module connector
17 speaker module connector
18 camera module connector
19 receiver module connector
20 back cover sealing rim
21 back cover battery pressure gasket
22 camera sealing rim
23 speaker opening in back cover
24 receiver module opening in chassis
25 camera module opening in chassis
26 battery opening in chassis
27 conductive back plate part
28 battery blocking ledge/cam
29 display module locking latch
30 display attachment part
31 frame attachment part
32 frame lock cams
33 rails on frame for slide cover
34 contact pins
35 connector shielding rim
36 display module back plate
37 display module back plate circumferential rim
38 protective glass plate (of the display)
39 slide abutment
40 cam
41 notch
42 module front housing part
43 module rear housing part
44 module ground/shield plate
45 module ground contact lip
46 module circuit board
47 speaker module sealing
48 speaker module opening in chassis
49 speaker module connector end
50 camera module connector end
51 receiver module connector end
52 flash device including flash light pipe
53 camera device
54 module assembly clip
55 coax antenna line
56 coax antenna line grounding
57 main cellular antenna
58 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth (BT) antenna
59 mimo high antenna
60 GPS antenna
61 mimo low antenna
62 locking latch rail
63 cam
64 housing opening
65 speaker
66 front camera device
67 vibrator
68 microphone booth
69 graphite heat spreader
100 expansion port
S display slide direction
L lock line
N normal to display

Claims

1. A modular electronic device, in particular a portable device, more in particular a handheld device, said modular electronic device comprising:
- a chassis comprising a frame holding a computational module comprising a circuit board holding a data processor, and 
- a display module comprising a planar display device having a viewing side and a rear side, said display module comprising a back plate on the rear side of the display device, 
wherein said frame further comprises a frame attachment part and said back plate comprises a display attachment part for allowing said display module to be attached to said frame in a sliding manner in a sliding direction in-plane of said planar display device, and said frame comprising a frame lock part and said display module comprising a display lock part for in a mutually locked position locking said frame and said display module onto one another, blocking said sliding, and in a mutually released position allowing sliding of said display module and said frame with respect to one another for allowing removal of said display module from said frame.
2. The modular electronic device of claim 1, wherein said electronic device is an electronic handheld device having at least one further functional module in a separate housing and functionally coupled with said computational module, wherein said further functional module is held between said frame and said display module.
3. The modular electronic device of claim 2, wherein said further functional module comprises a connector for power and data for coupling to said computational module.
4. The modular electronic device of any one of the preceding claims, said display attachment part comprises a series of hooks having an end part extending in said sliding direction and said frame attachment part comprises corresponding hooks extending in said sliding direction and a stop blocking further sliding when said display module is at a coupled position on said frame.
5. The modular electronic device of claim any one of the preceding claims, wherein said display lock and said frame lock comprise a latch that is displaceable in a direction that is at an angle with respect to said sliding direction for engaging a lock member in said locked position and releasing one another in said released position.
6. The modular electronic device of claim 5, wherein said latch is displaceable in a lock direction that is perpendicular to said sliding direction, more in particular said latch runs on a rail.
7. The modular electronic device of any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a battery, snapped onto said frame, wherein said display module comprises a cam at its rear side engaging said battery for blocking removal of said display module from said frame when said battery is snapped onto said frame.
8. The modular electronic device of any one of the preceding claims, wherein one of said circuit board and said display module comprises a first connector end and the other comprises a second connector end that is complementary to said first connector end, wherein said first connector end comprises a series of biased contact pins and a conductive rim surrounding said contact pins, and said second connector end comprises a series of conducting patches, positioned for a patch to correspond to a contact pin, and said patches surrounded by a peripheral contact surrounding said contact patches and corresponding to said conductive rim, said conductive rim and said peripheral contact provided for providing part of a Faraday cage around said contact pins and contact patches when in contact.
9. The modular electronic device of any one of the preceding claims, wherein said back plate of said display module comprises an electrically conductive plate forming an electromagnetic shielding layer for providing a common ground for said modular electronic device, in particular said conductive back plate is from one selected from magnesium and a magnesium alloy, for providing rigidity to said display module.
10. The modular electronic device of any one of the preceding claims, wherein said module comprise a housing comprising a front cover and a rear cover, with said rear cover comprising an electromagnetic (EM) shielding layer comprising a contact end contacting said common ground, in particular wherein said rear cover is injection moulded with EM shielding as an inlay in an inlay moulding process.
11. The modular electronic device of claim 9 or 10, further comprising at least one antenna unit and a coaxial lead for connecting said antenna unit, said coaxial lead comprising a sheath comprising a conductive connector contacting said electrically conductive plate of said display module.
12. The modular electronic device of any one of the preceding claims, further comprising at least one antenna unit comprising an antenna on a carrier and comprising a connection part for functionally connecting said antenna to said modular electronic device, in particular said antenna unit comprising a connection part for further mechanically releasably connecting to said chassis.
13. The modular device of any one of the preceding claims, further comprising an expansion port coupled to said circuit board and extending to said rear side for providing coupling at said rear said of said modular device.
14. A display module for an electronic device, comprising a planar display unit having a display side for viewing said display and a rear side provided with a back plate comprising a conductive shield layer that is at least partially embedded in a polymer material while leaving at least part of a surface of said conductive shield layer that is directed away from said rear side free for being electrically contacted, said polymer material comprising a display attachment part for allowing said display module to be attached a frame in a sliding manner in a sliding direction in-plane of said planar display unit, and a display lock part for in a mutually locked position locking to a frame, blocking said sliding, and in a mutually released position allowing sliding of said display module and a frame with respect to one another for allowing removal of said display module from a frame.
15. An electronic device comprising a data processor, a communication unit for wireless communication, a display module comprising a display, a camera module comprising a camera device, and a battery, wherein said electronic device further comprises:
- a chassis comprising a frame holding a circuit board holding said data processor and said communication unit, and further comprising connectors for functionally connecting said display module to said data processor and said camera module to said circuit board and a frame attachment part for mechanically releasably connecting said display module to said frame;
- said display module comprising a substantially flat display device comprising a display module back plate comprising a display attachment part, complementary to said frame attachment part for cooperating with said frame attachment part for mechanically releasably connecting said display module to said frame;
- said camera module comprising a housing holding a camera device;
wherein said chassis comprises an opening having a shape adapted to fit at least part of said housing of said camera module.
16. The electronic device of claim 15, wherein said parts of camera module fits said chassis form-fittingly, and said camera module is further held between said display module and said chassis, wherein said display module and said chassis form a housing for said electronic device.
17. The electronic device of claim 15 or 16, wherein said electronic device is a handheld electronic device, further comprising backcover, said backcover comprising a back cover sealing rim from a flexible elastic plastic material for reaching around said chassis and sealingly onto said display module.
18. A module for an electronic device, said module comprising a housing from a polymer composition and a conductive metal part integrate in said polymer composition and providing a structural part of said housing, said metal part comprising a flexible lip extending from said housing for in an assembled condition electrically contacting to a common grounding part of said electronic device.
19. An electronic device comprising a data processor, a communication unit for wireless communication, and a chassis comprising a frame, said electronic device comprising a at least one antenna unit coupled to said wireless communication unit, said antenna unit comprising an antenna provided on a substrate, a connector connected with said antenna and a connecting part connected with said substrate, and wherein said frame comprises a recess for supporting said substrate, a complementary connecting part for mechanically connecting to said connecting part of said antenna unit, and a connector for connecting with said connector of said antenna unit for functionally coupling said antenna with said communication unit.
20. An electronic device comprising a communication unit for wireless communication on a common circuit board and a display module comprising a display on a back plate, and a chassis comprising a frame holding said circuit board, and releasably holding said back plate, wherein said electronic device further comprises at least one antenna unit coupled to said wireless communication unit via a coaxial lead comprising a shielding cladding grounded to a common grounding on the back of the back plate of said display module.
21. An electronic device comprising a data processor and a communication unit for wireless communication on a common circuit board defining a computational module, a display module comprising a display, a battery, and a chassis comprising a frame holding said circuit board, and releasably coupling display module, on one side, wherein said frame holds said battery electrically coupled to said circuit board on an opposite side of said frame, and said display module comprising an engaging part engaging said battery for blocking releasing of said display module from said frame while said battery is on said frame.
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Abstract
The invention provides a modular electronic device, in particular a portable device, more in particular a handheld device, said modular electronic device comprising a chassis comprising a frame holding a computational module comprising a circuit board holding a data processor, and a display module comprising a planar display device having a viewing side and a rear side, said display module comprising a back plate on the rear side of the display device, wherein said frame further comprises a frame attachment part and said back plate comprises a display attachment part for allowing said display module to be attached to said frame in a sliding manner in a sliding direction in-plane of said planar display device, and said frame comprising a frame lock part and said display module comprising a display lock part for in a mutually locked position locking said frame and said display module onto one another, blocking said sliding, and in a mutually released position allowing sliding of said display module and said frame with respect to one another for allowing removal of said display module from said frame.

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