The high-end smartphone market is a dog-eat-dog world, with fierce competition between major manufacturers desperate to sell units.
As such you might think that we would be treated to plenty of innovative features as some of the biggest tech companies in the world compete for our custom. However in recent years smartphone makers have struggled to bring any game-changing new features to market.
Samsung Galaxy S8 could have two screens
However a new patent filed by Samsung may reveal one of the ways that handsets could include new features. In fact the feature included in the patent could be used on the Galaxy S8 smartphone.
Samsung has filed a patent related to a high-end smartphone that has two screens, one either side of a “built-in cover.” The company also previously submitted a patent application for a smartphone that had two screens with a small seam in between.
This latest submission seems to be a developed version of a previously submitted patent application for a smartphone with a very small seam between two screens.
Evolving dual-screen design in new patent
However it now looks like Samsung has given up on the idea of dual screens which make up one large display, and is now in favor of the new design. According to Patently Mobile it looks like “a professional notebook aimed at executives, sales pros and students.”
The handset has a cover that folds out, with two screens inside. The first is a “functional unit” that has sensors, input devices, antenna devices and charging pads. The patent also shows ultrasonic input, a pen, a projector and biometric, gesture, grip and UV sensors.
According to Patently Mobile the traditional hinge design would allow the phone to weigh less and be thinner. However that design is not present in the latest patent.
The report also mentions a passage from the patent submission related to a “processing device (e.g., a GPU) for supporting a mobile TV.”
Samsung versus Apple in high-end smartphone market
The patent was originally submitted in the United States in November 2015. It is not clear whether or not such a handset will ever actually be produced.
Technology companies are constantly filing patents. There is no guarantee that patented designs will ever be seen on the market. Sometimes patents are filed simply to prevent competitors from using similar technology, however this filing would suggest that Samsung is very interested in developing a dual screen smartphone.
With the impending release of the iPhone 7 we should get a better idea of how the high-end smartphone market will shape up for the foreseeable future. The prevailing view is that Apple will not make wholesale changes this year, and instead wait to introduce a major redesign with the iPhone 8.
If that is the case we could soon see a wave of innovation in smartphone design, with a potential dual-screen smartphone effort from Samsung and a predicted move to OLED displays from Apple.
The existing situation is interesting, with Samsung wrestling away the title of biggest selling smartphone brand in the key U.S. market. Apple will be keen to take back its crown after the first ever quarter of decreased iPhone sales this year, and it will be fascinating to see how Cupertino plans on doing so.
Stay tuned for the latest developments, with exciting innovations hopefully just around the corner.