A new Samsung patent filed under the international patent number PCT/KR2017/007043 has now been spotted at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) showcasing a range of design ideas for upcoming smartphones. To be clear, none of the design cues covered by the patent will necessarily make their way into real-world devices, as is always the case with patents. Furthermore, those aren't really anything that could be described as "revolutionary" in the quite the same way the company's expected foldable device – the Samsung Galaxy X – could be. However, they cover a number of aspects of smartphones ranging from the sensor, speaker, and camera placement to the ways a phone and its U.I. would need to be laid out if it were to based around a truly near-bezel-free design. In fact, the patent appears to cover a more abstract string of ideas for future device design than any specific or individual smartphone the company is working on.
Although each of the devices shown in the new patent has slight variances on overall design, there are a few similarities among them. For starters, each seems to be built around the concept of an almost completely bezel-free front layout, including along the top and bottom of the screen. In place of bezels, each design utilizes either behind-the-screen technologies or notches to embed the various components that users have come to expect from a smartphone. For example, in each design sketch, the camera and associated sensors are placed within a notch to varying degrees – with one showing a relatively minuscule notch in the top right corner that barely cuts into the screen at all. Each also features a power button that has been moved to the top of the device, allowing for further chamfering or rounding at the edges. Meanwhile, there are some much more novel ideas as well, such as one or two designs which allow the notification bar and quick settings to be placed along the bottom of the screen instead of the top. One design also features a fingerprint sensor that's been built directly into the display, while still another appears to have the speakers embedded there.
None of those is necessarily a new idea but Samsung takes its concepts further still and includes an additional button along the bottom right-hand edge of the screen in one of its designs. The button seems to be directly linked to screen switching and multi-app views. Specifically, it appears to be a dedicated way for users to access multi-app view and to control how much of the screen each application takes up. In yet another patent image, the notification bar appears to be customizable enough to allow users to place app shortcuts there. That level of customization also appears to be extended down to the recent apps shortcut in the Android navigation buttons, allowing users to tweak that aspect of the interface. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, there's no way of knowing whether Samsung will actually implement any of these features into future variants of its devices – let alone into any devices set to be revealed in the near future. With that said, the patent in question may have only just been published on January 11 but it was filed in July of last year. So, if the company does plan on putting the ideas presented there to use, it could be sooner rather than later.