Samsung has been granted a new patent, as revealed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), with the IP filing showing a new method for controlling interoperability of multiple displays on a single device. The design shown in the patent images appears similar to the Korean tech giant's edge display technology but a glance at the patent itself shows something a bit different. While that other display is effectively part of a single panel, the new listing describes a device with no fewer than three panels which are joined but treated separately. The main panel is a flat display housed under the main portion of what looks like a smartphone, while the two edge curves are their own panels independently managed by the system. It appears as though those can be active simultaneously, for example when the device is held in portrait orientation or with one or both turned off in other orientations. Touch sensors and content displayed are used to determine which screens are active.
However, the patent isn't necessarily meant to depict a smartphone. Its description does list possible use in such a device but also associates it with televisions, among other things. What's more, although the iconography and other images used on the patent diagrams are likely just placeholders, one image shows a file system navigation – which also prominently includes the terms "Windows" and "Microsoft." That's obviously intended to be displayed on an edge, while other images show icons filling the second edge display. In yet another image, the edge or center screens are used to display a low battery warning and the filing says that low battery mode would effectively disable one of the secondary screens based on how the device is held. The settings for that feature are user adjustable. Those images have led to some speculation that the patent may be for a futuristic TV remote or media control device, which would make some sense given the rapid rise of smart televisions. It could also be intended for use in a standalone content delivery and control device rolled into one but the patent itself mostly centers around the separation of the two displays.
At this point, Samsung's intentions for this new display tech are all but impossible to ascertain. The listing simply covers too broad an array of electronics categories and the images don't necessarily clarify matters. Whatever this technology points to, Samsung is no stranger to edge displays or features to fill those but that doesn't mean this patent will ever see use.