Samsung appears to be gearing up for the release of its next-generation Samsung Gear smartwatches with two new patent filings through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which were finalized near the end of 2017. It bears mention that, as is the case with all patents, there is no guarantee either will ever result in real-world devices. However, the innovations found in the patents are intriguing nonetheless since they include features that have not been seen in the industry yet but which would be very useful if incorporated into a wearable.
The first patent shows a design for a smartwatch band that has a battery built into it. That may seem counterintuitive since watchbands are typically expected to flex in order to fit the wrist of whoever is wearing it but, in this case, Samsung seems to have opted for a battery built into a curved frame and housed within the usual watchband materials. The battery would connect via pins to the main watch housing. That would, of course, remove some of the flexibility afforded by those materials. Having said that, the fact that the battery could be placed in either or both halves of the watchband would be an effective way to greatly extend a smartwatch's battery life. Moreover, it could be used to give buyers more choice when it comes to smartwatch configurations. Meanwhile, the second patent shows a smartwatch variation that features rotating bezel with an embedded second screen. Better still it alludes to the possible inclusion of a fingerprint sensor, on-device camera, and an array of other sensors ordinarily found in smartphones but not smartwatches.The rotating bezel would, according to the patent, act as a means to navigate portions of the watch's interface, while the other abovementioned features include proximity, light, infrared, and heart rate sensors. Any of those features would, on their own, be considered innovative in a wrist-borne wearable but it would be interesting to see Samsung cram them all into a single smartwatch – as well as being extremely useful as smartwatches move further away from being accessories to function as standalone devices in their own rights. Some of the features allowed by the rotating bezel also seem tied to smartphone functionality, suggesting a deeper interaction between the two devices.
It's important to remember at this point that although patents can be a great way to gain insight into the current goals of a given company, these patents won't necessarily translate to new real-world products. Bearing that in mind, it may just be that everybody will have to wait for something more official from the company before jumping to any conclusions.