A newly discovered leaked Samsung patent is hinting at a Gear S4 (or some other smartwatch) with an interactive band, which would certainly be a step up from the currently available Gear S3 models that you can buy in stores. Judging by one of the images, the band looks to be displaying pictures of app icons, or perhaps these are notifications, perhaps they’re a mix of both. This could open up a world of possibilities with users being able to configure the band with whichever apps and notifications they wish. It could also be an easy way to display longer messages that could simply scroll across the band. The second image shows what looks like a smartwatch camera coming out of the display that is also equipped with an optical zoom. It’s not clear how feasible this would be especially since it would be taking a big chunk out of the middle of the screen to account for the space it would need, but perhaps that would be the reason for the display on the band.
That said, there are a few things to take away from this patent and the images of the device design that you can see below. First, is that Samsung’s next generation Gear S smartwatch could be offering the new interactive band as a means for giving users more screen space. While smartwatches aren’t really meant to be a replacement for your phone all of the time, they can be a replacement some of the time, if only briefly, but the screen real estate that you have on smartwatches is low. So a band which allows users to interact with it through a secondary display of sorts would extend that usability, and that seems to be what this patent design is suggesting.
The next thing to consider is that if Samsung is developing or interested in developing a smartwatch with an interactive band, they would probably need a flexible display to do so, which means this could be a new way Samsung is looking to make use of their flexible display technology that they have been working on for a while now. Though these are just patents at the moment, the fact Samsung has filed applications for them (which was reportedly done last year), would be pointing towards Samsung’s interest in some capacity in making this type of a device a reality. This shouldn’t be too far fetched considering Sony’s concept brand, First Flight, has already made a watch with a flexible display band called the FES Watch U. The difference between the two is that the FES Watch band isn’t really interactive, and merely acts as a way to give the watch some extra style through the use of designs being shown on the e-ink display used for the band. Samsung would be taking kicking things up a notch by making the band touch sensitive. Another thing to consider here though is that a watch with this type of band would almost certainly do away with the capability to swap the band out with something you prefer, though it’s always possible that band with a display could be optional and Samsung could still allow for swappable bands.