A recently published patent filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reveals that Samsung is exploring a smartwatch design with a second screen. Images in the patent filing reveal that Samsung may be planning to add a secondary display to the smartwatch body by wrapping the screen around the case of the device. If Samsung commercializes this idea, we could potentially see a future Samsung Gear smartwatch with a screen that wraps around the body of the watch designed to provide quick access to information.
To activate the secondary display on Samsung's smartwatch, you'll need to rotate the digital bezel. On the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch, the bezel is used to scroll through the user interface (UI) without having to touch the display on the smartwatch. The second screen could be useful in locating basic information, like the current weather or stock prices, without having to launch specific apps or scroll through screens of widgets. The patent filing did not disclose whether this secondary display can be switched to an always-on mode and how the screen could impact battery life.
Samsung is no stranger to creating devices with secondary displays. The company had initially played with this idea with its Samsung Galaxy S Continuum smartphone, a Verizon Wireless exclusive in the U.S. That phone came with a smaller secondary display that was located just below the main screen. Since the Samsung Galaxy S Continuum, Samsung had launched its Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, and the Galaxy S7 Edge. Unlike the Galaxy S Continuum, the aforementioned devices feature a curved flexible display where the curved edge portion of the screen can be turned on independently of the main display to show various information. However, it's still unclear how useful a second screen could be on a relatively small smartwatch, especially considering that Samsung's current Gear S3 models already come with support for an always-on display to show the current time, while their widgets provide users with access to health information, music controls, news, and a number of other functionalities without the need to launch dedicated apps.