Samsung just patented a dual display smartphone.
The South Korea-based Android OEM filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on June 11, 2019 for a dual display smartphone. Samsung has filed patents in Korea, but trademarking its perspective on dual display design in the States means that the company is ready to make the design idea a dream come true.
The dual display smartphone patent shows a smartphone with a full screen on the front but a half-screen or partial screen on the back. In the seven patent sketches provided, the receiver is placed at the top of the front screen but the camera is missing, instead placed on the back of the device. Dual display smartphones would allow users to tap the front screen to take a photo with the device's second display on the back cover.
The second screen would also require light (which means, it too, will consume battery), but Samsung's dual display patent would allow the second screen to be cut off to save power when the user doesn't need it. This setup is similar to what Russian company YotaPhone has done with its dual-display smartphone (named "YotaPhone" after the company).
YotaPhone provides two displays, the front being a liquid crystal display (LCD) or AMOLED panel, while the back is E-Ink only. The E-Ink display keeps battery consumption low for the second display. YotaPhone unveiled its first smartphone in 2013, four years before Samsung filed its first dual display smartphone patent.
Samsung has experimented with two displays in flip phones such as the Galaxy W2017 and the Galaxy Folder, though it did not place a display on the back cover of either. ZTE's Axon M allows for two front displays instead of a front and back display.
It appears as though Samsung wants to extend functionality for the beloved selfie, though the patent doesn't provide any further details.
While there's little else to reveal about Samsung's plans for the selfie camera, two other points to note are in order. First, the dual display patent Samsung has filed shows no place for the long-cherished 3.5mm headphone jack. This means that, in line with Galaxy Note 10 rumors, Samsung does look to ditch the headphone jack in upcoming smartphone models.
Next, the dual display smartphone patent could become reality in the Galaxy A series. Samsung likely intends to go with a 3D curved display design for the Galaxy S11 (more than likely the Galaxy S12, since the S11 will likely stick with the new design language of the current Galaxy S10). On the other hand, the Galaxy A series could use this new innovative feature.
Samsung has already said it intends to implement high-end features in the mid-range Galaxy A Series. Dual displays would be such a feature worthy of smartphone design. And, let's not forget, Samsung has already brought triple-camera and quad-camera setups to the Galaxy A Series ahead of its high-end Galaxy S and Note lineups.
The Korean giant, like a number of other Android OEMs, has been searching for a way to handle "the notch" problem. Samsung committed itself to the full-screen smartphone when it unveiled the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ with Infinity screens two years ago, but the notch has been the go-to design for a number of other manufacturers.
When it came to questions regarding how Samsung would implement a selfie camera and fingerprint sensor on the front of the smartphone, Samsung placed the fingerprint sensor in the display (or under the display, rather). It did the same thing for the selfie camera, creating Infinity-O and Infinity-U displays; these are called "punch hole" displays throughout the industry.
The punch hole camera design has some fashion appeal but isn't practical because water, dust, and dirt particles could easily slide into the display and corrupt the camera (thus ruining smartphone photography). Perhaps this dual display patent shows that Samsung is considering multiple selfie cameras and doesn't want to have two punched holes on a smartphone's front display.