The last years the screen edges of smartphones have been drastically reduced. New solutions have been sought for the sensors and the front camera, such as the pop-up camera, a rotating camera or a hole in the display. However, the developments do not stop there. Where will it go in the coming years?
In December 2018, LetsGoDigital reported on a borderless Samsung smartphone, using a flexible display that extends to all four edges. A new patent shows that Samsung sees a serious future in such a screen design.
This time the Korean manufacturer has not so much patented the rounded display, the new patent explains in detail how such a screen can be implemented in a mobile phone. The curved screen extends all the way to the four edges of the device. The whole looks very futuristic and also offers new operating options.
Samsung phone with 3D curved screen
At the end of 2018, Samsung Electronics filed a patent with the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office) for an 'Electronic device with full display'. The patent was requested from America and from Korea, both were published on June 6, 2019.
We see a fairly round-shaped smartphone, with a flat display surface on the front with four curved display modules around it. This creates a 3D curved design. The housing runs at least in all angles relative to the display, making the device more resistant to drops and bumps. The patent also shows two models, with the first model the frame edge is just a bit thicker and wider than with the second model.
The back of the device can be made partially of glass, although the patent reserves the possibility of using other materials. Think of metal, so that the housing can also function as an antenna radiator, which benefits the mobile signal. In addition, glass housing ensures that wireless charging is made possible.
The same curvature is applied on the back as on the front, which means that the smartphone is considerably thinner on the sides and top and bottom than in the middle of the device. The round design should also contribute to a better grip, according to the patent description.
The front camera and associated sensors are implemented in the curved display area. To prevent this curvature causing image distortions, the flat camera module is placed with a tilt. The curved screen ensures that the whole still looks aesthetically good. The fingerprint sensor is also processed under the screen.
The camera system at the rear accommodates several camera lenses, these are implemented in the straight part of the housing, in the middle. They are placed vertically apart on the patent sketches. However, the final design may differ from the sketches, after all, it is not a design patent, but a so-called utility patent. In other words, it is about technological innovation, the usefulness, and advantages of the invention.
Although the patent does not elaborate on the additional operating options, it is clearly stated that the curved display areas must also offer additional functionality. The previous patent already showed several examples of this. For example, the side can be used to display frequently used app icons. The top and/or bottom can also function as a multimedia player.
Future Samsung smartphones
It is obvious that Samsung wants to equip its future smartphones with special screens. Finally, the leading display manufacturer has been paying extra attention to the screen for years. The Galaxy Note and Galaxy S models have been provided with an edge display for a long time, which contributes to a stylish appearance and extra functionality.
With the Galaxy S10 launched earlier this year and with the Galaxy Note 10 (Pro), which is expected later this year, the screen on the left and right ends all the way to the edges. With the patented smartphone, the edges on the top and bottom are also curved, creating a 3D curved screen.
You may assume that the final design will have more cameras than shown on the patent illustrations. For example, the S10 Plus has three cameras on the rear and with the 5G model, there is even a fourth camera added. However, the 3D renders produced by us are purely based on the patent and are for illustrative purposes only.
It is difficult to predict when the Korean manufacturer will introduce such a design. You can at least assume that it is a 5G smartphone. Finally, Samsung has already introduced the Galaxy S10 5G.
As technological developments follow each other at a rapid pace, a device like this could only be in stores within a few years. It is possible that Samsung even sees the opportunity to use this design for the Galaxy S11, which is expected in the first half of 2020.
However, it seems more likely that we have to wait another year longer, after all, the S10 has already had a considerable design update. There is, therefore, a realistic chance that the Samsung Galaxy S11 will show many similarities with the current S10 model. The Galaxy S12 will probably receive a significant design upgrade again, by the time we are already in 2021.
If the company wants to remain a market leader, it will have to implement more technological highlights in the coming years, at a faster pace. Certainly in view of the fact that Chinese manufacturers are able to demonstrate innovation on innovation, such as Huawei, but certainly also Oppo and Xiaomi. Both smartphone manufacturers were among the first to introduce a full-screen smartphone last year.
The in-display fingerprint scanner was also found on Chinese devices much earlier than on Galaxy smartphones. And although a Galaxy S10 5G model has been launched, you can still not buy a Samsung 5G smartphone in Europe. Here, too, Oppo is ahead of the Koreans, thanks to the Reno 5G and the collaboration with Swiss telecom provider Swisscom.
It also looks unlikely that the Chinese are planning to take gas back. Oppo and Xiaomi, for example, recently showed a demonstration video of a smartphone with an under-screen camera. It will probably not take years before these special prototypes are developed into a final production model. Although similar technology is also used in the patented Samsung model, the question is whether the Koreans can keep up with the fast pace of the Chinese.
Samsung will, in turn, want to continue to distinguish itself through its curved screen technology, or the future will tell if this is sufficient. There are now several manufacturers ready who would be more than happy to take over the No. 1 position of Samsung.