Technology

New Patent Shows How The Foldable Galaxy X Interface Would Work

The rumor mill has been talking about Samsung’s revolutionary smartphone Galaxy X with a foldable display for more than a year. In September, Samsung’s mobile head DJ Koh teased the ‘folding phone.’ He said the phone is on track to launch next year. The Galaxy X is still facing certain technical difficulties that could affect its release date, though. Now a new patent granted to Samsung sheds light on the Galaxy X interface. It offers some interesting insights into how you would be able to use the device.

Samsung Galaxy X Interface
Image Source: Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) / Samsung (screenshot)

Here’s how the Galaxy X interface would work

Published by the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) on Thursday, the patent was first spotted by Dutch publication GalaxyClub. The patent was originally filed in February 2016. First things first, the Galaxy X interface doesn’t seem to have a continuous folding display. It has two screens attached to a hinge in the middle. The images accompanying the patent document show that each section of the screen contains a different menu or home screen.

Each of the two screens runs its own app, and has its own app switcher. The same arrangement applies to both the portrait and landscape modes. The Galaxy X interface has an app-pairing option that would allow users to take full advantage of the split-screen functionality. You could multitask by running two apps simultaneously on the device. With the Galaxy X, Samsung seems to be focusing on fitting more content when the device is unfolded.

Galaxy X Interface 1
Image Source: Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) / Samsung (screenshot)

The patent documents also describe a few examples of the new Galaxy X interface. One screen could list all the contacts while another could show a specific person’s contact card. It could display the game on one screen, and the relevant touchscreen controls on another. Samsung could serve the viewfinder for the main camera on one screen, and for the front camera on the second screen. You could compose an email on one screen and see the inbox messages on the other screen.

Galaxy X Interface Games
Image Source: Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) / Samsung (screenshot)

You could unfold the device to have two screens next to each other to enjoy a larger display. Or you could fold it to have one screen on the front and another on the back. When folded, you’ll be able to use either screen to perform all the tasks. Of course, this mode is not natively supported by Android. So, it would depend on Samsung’s custom Galaxy X interface.

In another use case, the second screen could show the cover of the book you are reading to give you a feel of real books. People around you will be able to see which book you are reading. It’s worth pointing out that the patent was filed in February 2016. So, the look and feel of the Galaxy X is similar to the Galaxy S6 or S7. The final version of the interface could have a more modern look when the device goes on sale next year.

Galaxy X has already been certified by Korean regulator

Back in September, ValueWalk reported that Samsung had received certification from the Korean Communication Commission (KCC) for a phone with model number SM-G888N0, which has been linked to the Galaxy X in the past. The “N0” at the end of the model number suggests that it is the South Korean variant of the device.

A phone with the same model number was granted Bluetooth certification by the Bluetooth SIG in July. The same model number had also appeared on the WiFi Alliance a few months ago. Samsung has been working on the foldable smartphone for years under the Project Valley. The phone’s appearance on various regulatory platforms suggests that its launch is approaching.

Galaxy X release date

DJ Koh has indicated that Samsung was aiming to launch the Galaxy X in 2018. A big question is when? The company already has two flagship phones – Galaxy S and Galaxy Note – that are refreshed in March/April and August/September, respectively. Launching the Galaxy X close to any of them would affect the sales of Samsung’s flagship models.

One way Samsung could launch the Galaxy X without affecting the Galaxy S9 or Note 8 sales next year is to restrict the device to its home market initially. The Galaxy X will be a niche smartphone with an unproven technology. Launching it only in the Korean market would help Samsung gauge the consumer response before bringing it to international markets in 2019 or 2020.

The rumor mill claims we could get a glimpse of Galaxy X at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 in Las Vegas. Smartphone vendors don’t usually launch their flagship phones at the CES, but things have been changing recently. Nokia announced its first Android phones at the CES earlier this year.

The Galaxy X is said to be Samsung’s response to Apple’s iPhone X. DJ Koh teased the foldable phone on the same day Apple announced the iPhone X in September. Apple’s 10th-anniversary phone is loaded with exciting new features.