Samsung is one of a very small number of number of hardware makers, along with the likes of Apple and a few others, that’s still bullish about the smartwatch market. 9to5Google has gone so far as to argue that Samsung’s Galaxy Watch is the king of the Android smartwatch hill — though Samsung, it seems, might be planning to try something new with a future smartwatch release.
A just-published patent seems to indicate Samsung is looking into the idea of a smartwatch that also has a separate analog mode. Per Phone Arena, this would be a bit of a departure from the more traditional idea of the digital smartwatch segment that Samsung first entered five years ago.
“Much like traditional watches,” the news site notes, “the wearable depicted in the [Samsung] patent sports a round design complete with a crown along the right side of the frame. It includes a transparent touch display that sits on top of two analog hands. The time displayed by these can be modified easily by holding down on the display and dragging each hand. Also, if the move is unintentional, users can turn the crown to undo the change.”
That report goes on to explain that the wearable will default to the smartwatch setting. However, a separate analog mode would also be available that “significantly” extends the battery life. There would also be a camera sitting just above the display — an interesting, but likely inevitable, addition. (Hat tip for the patent news to LetsGoDigital.)
As with any patent we mention, it’s important to include the normal caveat that the existence of a patent is no guarantee this idea will ever come to fruition as a real product. It’s also worth noting that Samsung isn’t the only one interested in hybrid smartwatches, with other examples including the LG Watch W7 that was announced this month.
Phone Arena’s review of that LG hybrid praises the distinctive-looking nature of its analog clock arms, and the metallic casing, crown, buttons and etched outlined bezel that “all combine for a contemporary look.” Android smartwatches are still heavily trailing the more popular Apple Watch, so hardware makers seem to be thinking it’s worth it at this point to try to shake things up a bit.