Thursday, January 27, 2022

Samsung patents a smartphone with detachable fitness band from it

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A newly-published patent application from Samsung shows a rather unique smartphone design. It’s a standard candy-bar form factor but with a detachable display. The whole display doesn’t detach from the phone’s body though only a portion of it.

The images accompanying the patent application show the top portion of the phone can be detached and wrapped around curved surfaces such as your hand, quite like a fitness band. However, since the display isn’t long enough to completely wrap around your wrist, it sits rather insecurely at the top.

This is a design patent so there’s no information on how the whole setup will work or what purpose the detached portion of the display will serve. The description explicitly says it’s an “ornamental design for a display device,” i.e. only covers the appearance of the product.

However, a close look at the accompanying images shows two buttons on the side of that tiny display. So perhaps it will let you remotely control your smartphone. You could also be able to perform various actions like make/receive calls, see notifications, quickly reply to messages, and much more. The detachable display could also double up as a fitness band.

The detachable display will likely connect to the smartphone via pin connectors or magnets. It should feature its own battery and draw power from the main battery when connected. When detached from the body, the tiny display might connect to the device over Bluetooth.

Samsung had filed for this design patent with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in June 2018. The patent was granted and published earlier this week, on June 22nd. That said, the Korean firm is the world’s largest smartphone maker and files patents for hundreds of designs every year. However, only a handful of them come out as a real product. Considering this patent was filed back in 2018 and that the design shown in this patent doesn’t really seem durable enough to survive the real-world environment or even serve any additional useful purpose that existing smartphone form factors don’t serve, this Samsung device with a detachable secondary display is unlikely to see the light of day.

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Nonetheless, the smartphone industry continues to evolve rapidly. It will be interesting to see if Samsung pursues this design or any other similar design for a future smartphone.

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Astitva Patle
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