Samsung might be working on an all-new smartphone design that will dramatically change how you interact with a handset. That is, if the smartphone ever makes its way to store shelves.
The Korean tech giant was awarded a design patent recently on a smartphone design that comes with a transparent display, according to Patently Mobile, which dug up the filing and reported on it on Friday (May 4). According to the report, the patent describes a technology in which the screen would be slightly transparent, allowing you to see the world around you whenever you wish.
On the display itself, there would be virtual elements over the physical world that you're looking through, allowing for an experience not unlike augmented reality features you'd find by using the camera.
The patent Samsung filed describes how the technology could be used in a traditional handset design with a completely opaque screen. In that case, however, you'd be using the camera and viewing the outside world with that component.
Interestingly, the patent itself suggests that not all of the handset would be transparent. Instead, there appears to be a window of sorts in the middle of the smartphone that would have a transparent area. Above and below the screen would not be transparent.
Samsung, like other major tech companies, is actively seeking new ways to implement augmented reality — a technology that Apple has said has more applicability and potential than virtual reality. But all of those implementations have relied on traditional screen technology. By using a transparent screen, the augmented reality experience could technically be enhanced and potentially allow for more opportunities to utilize it. Perhaps more importantly, it could also pave the way for new smartphone designs.
Still, we should keep in mind that this is only a design patent at the moment and like all other tech giants, Samsung files for patents all the time on technologies that never come to fruition. But considering the company has its own display division and is in a bitter battle with Apple to stay ahead of the curve, this one doesn't seem so far off.