Samsung Electronics was awarded a design patent for a new "Note" smartphone and a screen-equipped smart speaker that may be compatible with the company's artificial intelligence (AI) assistant Bixby, industry sources have revealed. The South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer was granted those two patent applications by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) earlier this month, though it's currently unclear when the company filed the original applications.
The new "Note" design patent secured by Samsung depicts a relatively thin phablet that sports what seems to be a stylus holder on the bottom of the case. The holder itself is noticeably thicker than the actual device, resulting in an uneven design that features a bulge on the left side of its rear panel. The sketch visualizing the design also shows a display panel that's only curved on the thicker side of the smartphone. Furthermore, the handset in question boasts a single-lens rear camera setup and a physical Home button, while its stylus — presumably the S Pen — seems rather large relative to the size of the device. The end result is a smartphone that looks unlike any consumer-grade product that ever made its way to the market, though there are no guarantees that this one will, either.
The second patent design granted to Samsung by the USPTO refers to an "audio device" that's equipped with a screen and looks like a miniature monitor. Given how the Seoul-based tech giant didn't patent products but only designs, the patent documentation revealed by the USPTO doesn't contain any specifics regarding either device. Regardless, the audio-focused product may be one of the company's upcoming smart speakers that Samsung has reportedly been working on for several years now. The firm recently trademarked "Samsung Hello" in the European Union, with some industry watchers believing that the term refers to the company's answer to Internet of Things (IoT) devices like the Google Home and Amazon's Echo lineup. The latter was just refreshed with the Echo Show, a screen-equipped smart speaker infused with the Alexa assistant, and Samsung's newly awarded design patent may be showing a similar device that the tech giant is planning to release in the future.