A recently published USPTO patent application discovered by Mobielkopen may have revealed the overall design employed by Samsung’s first smartphone featuring an Infinity-U display. Moreover, the sketches attached to the application indicate that the device features an in-display fingerprint sensor, resulting in thin bezels and a very high screen-to-body ratio. The top bezel accommodates a loudspeaker right above a U-shaped display notch housing a front-facing camera, and the side bezels are virtually non-existent as the screen’s edges wrap around them. A direct view of the lower edge reveals the inclusion of a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack as well as what appears to be a USB Type-C port, so the mysterious smartphone at hand could be one of the few to combine both connectors into a single package. The application was filed on September 27 of 2017, more than a year before Samsung officially showcased the Infinity-U panels last November, but the documents have been published by the USPTO just earlier today.
Background: Samsung is one of the later adopters of the display notch, and it looks like the Korean OEM wanted to steer clear of the original, rectangular notches that made their debut with Apple’s flagship phone. Instead, Samsung only became truly interested in this design characteristic once it became less obtrusive, and last month the OEM showcased not one, but three of its future displays featuring a notch. One of them was the Infinity-U panel, which is also seen in the recent patent application. The other two were the Infinity-V which has yet to be seen outside of Samsung’s conference, and the Infinity-O which made its official debut only yesterday along with the Samsung Galaxy A8s. The Infinity-O display has a circular, offset notch positioned in the upper-left corner, while the Infinity-V and Infinity-U have more conventional V and U-shaped notches positioned in the middle. However, while the Galaxy A8s features a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, the model shown in the USPTO documents makes use of an in-display fingerprint sensor, so in theory, the Infinity-U panels could be viewed as a solution for smartphones positioned higher up in the food chain, compared to their Infinity-O counterparts.
Impact: For a while, Samsung has been known to work on ways to implement in-panel fingerprint scanner solutions to future smartphone models and the technology should become commercially available in the OEM’s mobile lineup next year. But up until now, this technology seemed to have been planned for use in conjunction with the notch-less New Infinity panel, which was showcased alongside the three notched variants mentioned above. In contrast, the patent application at hand hint that these scanners might not be used exclusively for smartphones employing New Infinity and could also replace the rear-fitted modules in other, non-full screen smartphone models. As always, the patent application isn’t necessarily a direct confirmation that the product showcased in the sketches exists in this exact form, but it suggests that Samsung is considering utilizing in-display fingerprint scanners together with at least two of its newest Infinity panels. Additional notched models are expected to be showcased by Samsung in the coming weeks and months.