Every so often, a product comes along that changes the face of mobile design forever. In 2007, the iPhone made a splash with its revolutionary multitouch interface. This would go on to become the standard-bearer for all smartphones and tablets for the next decade — revolutionizing consumer technology for a mass audience that spans all genders, age groups, and levels of tech literacy.
In 2018, Samsung announced the Galaxy Fold — the world’s first mass-market foldable smartphone. Though this launch would be plagued by hiccups and delays, the sheer audacity of a transforming mobile device was enough to spur competition in a number of other designers and manufacturers.
Now, a radical new body plan for mobile phones has leaked from patent applications submitted by none other than Samsung. This phone, designed to split from one screen into three, does something that no other phone has before. But the real question is this: Does a phone really need to split into three? Here’s our take on Samsung’s latest head-scratching innovation.
A triple threat
When innovative new designs are engineered by hardware developers, law (and common sense) dictates that they submit their designs to a patent office to protect them. Patents keep competitors from ripping each other off and serve to foster an environment where everyone is encouraged to do things that haven’t been done before.
And for those of us in the general public, patents can give us spectacular sneak previews into upcoming products that have yet to hit the market. Sure, the finished items are usually vastly different from what’s presented in the patent, but they do help to give us something to look forward to in the years to come.
A patent is exactly where tech analysts and Samsung fanatics learned about the Korean tech giant’s upcoming plans to revolutionize smartphones. As for the designs, well, we’ll leave them for you to judge:
From what experts can gather, the phone is designed in a modular sense — meaning it separates into several smaller components. Rather than detach, however, the phones more or less “fan out” into three separate screens. The purpose of this, as of now, is unknown.
Why would Samsung do…whatever it is it’s trying to do?
That’s a good question. We’re not entirely sure how or why this phone would work for consumers. Reactions on social media are similarly puzzled, with people speculating on everything from custom swivel configurations to gaming potential. If I were to speculate, however, I’d argue that you’d fan the phone out into a half-circle to enjoy an extra widescreen experience.
But even that seems like sort of a roundabout way to accomplish this. The Galaxy Fold does it better, in any case — and it’s coming this year!
Most likely, this patent is more an attempt by Samsung to put its name on an idea in case anyone else was to think of something similar. Big tech companies (Apple is notorious for this) tend to submit tons of patents in the interest of protecting its research and development process.
It also can grant them access to easily winnable lawsuits in the event that someone comes up with something that matches their existing patent. In the tech industry, this tactic is sometimes referred to as “patent trolling.”
But do keep in mind, this is the same company that patented the Galaxy Fold, as well as a myriad of other designs including a phone that rolls up and a scanning 3D smart display. Who knows what other insane concepts they have up their sleeve.
Better yet, who knows what other insane concepts may make their way into future Samsung products. The future certainly looks wild.