The United States Patent and Trademark office publishes publicly-available copies of all accepted patents, a great boon to nerds, lawyers, and technology reporters everywhere. The latest batch of design patents includes hundreds of obtuse examples, everything from glasses frames to mops, and among them is this little gem awarded to Samsung, US Design Patent D720,747. It's an interesting look at a style of tablet and cover from Samsung before in exactly this configuration.

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While the filing is mostly concerned with a nondescript tablet and cover combo (or perhaps a tablet with a fully-integrated cover), there's a hole in the upper right-hand side and one in the upper center, ostensibly for allowing access to some portion of the tablet's functionality when the cover is closed. Exactly what isn't clear, as function isn't a necessary inclusion in design patents, though obvious guesses include access holes for speakers or cameras. The longer opening resembles the opening for an earpiece on the Galaxy Note 8.0 Book Cover, used for making calls with a closed cover (on the call-enabled 3G model only).

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That begs the question: how and why would you use a tablet camera when the tablet is covered? The asymmetrical section on the bottom of the tablet could hold a clue. A cutout in bold lines, as opposed to the dashed lines not actively part of the patent application, show a distinct design element. We've got no context as to its function, but it's right about where one's thumb might be if the user was holding it in his or her right hand. Unless it's an extremely stylized stylus and bay combination of the Galaxy Note variety, it just might be a shutter button for a "selfie" shot. See recent midrange releases from Samsung with wide-angle front-facing cameras for evidence of the company's confidence in selfie-specific features.

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D720,747 was filed on July 21st, 2012, so any designs that Samsung had based on these technical drawings have either been released already or are shortly to come to market, as indicated above... or have been scrapped entirely.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

A note for tech sites covering our report: the diagrams contained in this post have been published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Design Patent D720,747, awarded to Min-Jung Kim and assigned to Samsung Electronics.They are free for anyone to access and cite. Feel free to copy as many images from this article as you would like. A source link back to this article would be nice, but we're not going to lose sleep if you leave it out. Thank you for your cooperation.