Last year, Samsung had incorporated a pressure-sensitive display technology in the Galaxy S8. It was similar to Apple’s 3D Touch, but its functionality was limited to around the virtual home button. The Korean company seems to be planning to add the pressure-sensitive technology to its upcoming foldable phone as well. A new Samsung Galaxy X patent spotted by folks at MobielKopen suggests that the foldable handset’s display would be able to gauge different levels of pressure.
Samsung Galaxy X patent shows pressure sensors under bendable display
Samsung might have been planning to add the pressure-sensitive technology to the foldable phone for a long time. The Samsung Galaxy X patent spotted by MobielKopen was filed in June 2017 with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO). However, it was published about six months later on December 28, 2017. Patent documents suggest that the company is trying to achieve something far more complex than what Apple has done with 3D Touch or Huawei has done with Force Touch.
The Samsung Galaxy X patent documents describe pressure-sensitive sensors that are placed underneath the bendable screen. It will allow the sensor controller to determine the intensity of the pressure applied on the flexible screen. Including pressure sensors under a flat display isn’t an easy feat. Adding the same sensors under a bendable screen would be a lot more difficult.
Smartphone design has become stale in the past few years. Last year, we saw innovation in terms of bezel-less design. Samsung’s foldable handset could bring even more radical design changes this year. The Samsung Galaxy X patent documents indicate that its display would bend when users press down on it.
Samsung patents exciting new smartwatch design
LetsGoDigital has discovered smartwatch patents filed by Samsung with WIPO. The “kitchen sink” wearable device is jam-packed with features like proximity sensor, camera, and fingerprint sensor. The smartwatch shown in the patent filing has a more compact design than the original Gear. The patents suggest that the battery could be integrated into the watch straps.
Battery life could be a real problem for smartwatches. Integrating the battery into the straps would help Samsung provide additional battery life on the upcoming Gear watches. The watch strap could be made of a variety of materials such as rubber, fiber, polymer or leather. One of the patents also describes a ring of LED lights to illuminate the scroll indicator. It is too early to say whether these technologies will be used in the Gear S4, but they seem exciting enough to make Samsung’s smartwatches more appealing to consumers.
Galaxy X to have two screens
While the latest Samsung Galaxy X patent hints at a bendable screen, older patents filed by Samsung indicate that the Galaxy X could look like ZTE’s Axon M rather than having a single sheet of bendable glass. According to the past patents, the handset would have two screens connected to each other through a hinge in the middle. You could open it to use it like a tablet or you could turn the secondary screen towards the back to use only one screen at a time.
Both the screens would have their own front camera and speaker. The two-display design would open the door to real multitasking opportunities. For instance, you could be watching Netflix on one screen and sending emails or tweeting from the second screen. In another use case, the controls and tools could appear on one display and the content you are working on on the second screen.
The Korean company had trademarked the “Samsung Galaxy X” brand in its home country in February last year. Until last month, a phone with model number SM-G888N0 was believed to be the Galaxy X. It had been certified by the Bluetooth SIG, the WiFi Alliance, and the Korean regulators. A support page for the device had also appeared on Samsung’s website.
However, the company said in a press release that the SM-G888N0 was a rugged smartphone made exclusively for professionals. That model number was not the Galaxy X. The SM-G888N0 has already been launched, though it would not be available in the consumer market.
Will Samsung launch the Galaxy X at CES?
Samsung’s mobile business head DJ Koh has announced in September that the Galaxy X would launch in 2018, though Samsung was still “in the process of overcoming some hurdles for mass production.” The rumor mill claims that the device could be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in a few days. Samsung’s UK newsroom has also teased the Galaxy X unveiling at the CES, without mentioning the phone’s features or specs.
Even if Samsung announces the Galaxy X at the CES or sometime during the first quarter of this year, the device is unlikely to arrive in international markets anytime soon. Samsung is rumored to launch it exclusively in its home market to gauge the consumer response. It would produce only 100,000 units of Galaxy X initially. Depending on the market response, the foldable phone could be launched in other markets later in 2018 or early 2019.