What’s cooking in Samsung R&D labs?
If you look at the number of form factors, phone control elements and variety of mobile handsets themselves, Samsung is probably the most active experimenter in these areas.
At least it seems to have the biggest amount of different handsets, in different shapes, form factors and control elements such as optical joystics, touchpads, touchscreens, etc;
I don’t know if it’s good or bad for the user, who sometimes may feel overwhelmed by too many choices. But Samsung ain’t gonna stop.
I just sifted through a number of patent applications that Samsung has produced recently, and found quite a few more interesting approaches to cellphone design, that might make it into a live handsets in a few years.
Let’s start with a patent simply named “Mobile phone“:
As you can see, it describes a slider handset with a twist.
It can be a simple full touch screen phone just like Samsung Omnia i900 or F490, but it has many more goodies beneath the screen. A numeric keypad can slide out from when you need to dial a number. Then there’s another key layer beneath that, which, with a little twisting and turning can transform your phone into a full fledged communicator or gaming console.
Another interesting handset design describes a clamshell phone with dual display/touch screens:
Instead of the numeric keypad, the bottom part of the clamshell contains secondary display with touchscreen functionality. All the control buttons are made into a softkeys and can change depending on the mode the device is currently in. I think, that with some little haptics magic it can be made to work pretty well.
Of course, not everyone is awed by the recent iPhone induced craze to use the touchscreens to do everything on your mobile phone. Don’t worry, Samsung has a solution for you too:
Samsung has borrowed the idea from Art Lebedev’s Optimus Maximus, and transformed the keys on the phone keypad into a small OLED displays. This way you can have the best of the both worlds – soft keys changing their functionality and displayed info at need, while still retaining a full tactile feel of the physical keypad.
And the last interesting device I wanted to talk about is a mobile phone with flexible display:
Whenever flexible displays become available and reach acceptable quality, this approach might allow you to have a mobile phone and a mighty multimedia device with a really big screen in your pocket. The picture above is more or less self explanatory. In a closed position – it’s a normal mobile phone. But when you open it – the flexible display stretches out, and you can have as much screen real estate as you like.
I have no idea how many of these ideas will make it out of Samsung’s R&D labs. But quite a few of them look feasible and could be implemented real quick.