In order to create a larger screen surface, smartphone manufacturers invent all sorts of ways to handle the selfie camera, from a notch to a hole in the screen or the pop-up camera. In the meantime, even the first telephones have been introduced with a second screen, such as the Vivo Nex Dual Display or the Nubia X. By attaching a display on the rear, the front camera is unnecessary, and selfies can be made with the primary camera.
Last month, LetsGoDigital reported on a patent for a Huawei phone with a display on the back. In the past, we have also encountered patents from Samsung for a Galaxy smartphone with a double-sided screen. The Korean manufacturer has again applied for a patent for a dual-screen smartphone, this time the operation is also described in detail.
Samsung smartphone with continuous display
In October 2016, Samsung filed a patent with the USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office) for an ‘electronic device having multiple displays and method for controlling the same’. The patent has since been approved and was published on 25 April 2019 in the WIPO database (World Intellectual Property Office).
This is a mobile device with a so-called ‘multi-plane display’. The telephone has a display on both the front and back that can be used simultaneously. The detailed patent describes various applications for this, more on that later.
The patented Samsung smartphone has three display parts merged into one screen. The entire front consists of the screen. The display surface extends through the top, up to about 3/4 of the back. The screen is placed in a bracket so that it retains its fixed shape. It is therefore not a foldable phone, but a double-sided phone.
Although the patent illustrations on the front show a physical home button that is integrated into the display, it is clear from the patent description that this can also be a virtual button. A camera on the front is not necessary since selfies can be made with the main camera on the rear.
Various options are discussed for the primary camera. This can be integrated on the back, top, in the screen, according to the same technology that is also used with the Galaxy S10 series introduced earlier this year. However, several alternatives are still being discussed. For example, the camera can be placed between the second and third display part, or the camera is integrated into the housing itself, the patent images show various options for this.
Operation of the smartphone
The patent then examines the operating options. By hovering your hand over the screen (hovering), that conscious screen part becomes active. Although there is no storage compartment for a stylus pen included in the patent images, the description does mention the use of a stylus pen. So you can not only activate the screen by hovering over it with your hand but also with an S Pen – the well-known stylus pen for the Galaxy Note smartphones. According to the patent description, these hover movements are detected at a distance of 2 to 5 cm from the screen.
If you want to take a selfie, you can use the camera on the back. The display below immediately shows the results. Are you taking a picture of someone else? Then the results can be shown on both screens. In this way, the person being photographed can also see a preview image.
Another function where the dual screen can come in handy is when meeting international contacts. Do you not speak each other’s language, or not well enough? Then one person can talk to the smartphone in his or her language, after which the other can read the translation in real time on the other side of the device. This works visa versa, so that a real conversation can be conducted, even though you don’t understand each other’s language.
Display on the top of the device
The display at the top can function as a notification bar to show general information, such as a missed call or received message. By dragging the incoming notification from the small screen to the front display, the corresponding application is automatically opened, so that you can call back the number directly or send a message. With this drag movement, you don’t have to touch the screen physically; it also works by means of floating motion.
It is difficult to predict whether Samsung actually intends to put this smartphone on the market. There are, however, clear signs that more devices with a double-sided display will be introduced in the (near) future.
Last year it was Vivo and Oppo who experimented with a pop-up camera, and not without success. Meanwhile, Samsung is tacking with the Galaxy A80 and Huawei will soon introduce its variant of a phone with a pop-up camera. It seems to be a matter of time before these two major smartphone manufacturers also have a phone in the range with a screen on the back.