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Samsung’s most innovative phone in years might reinvent the edge display

Samsung a few years ago introduced the first smartphone with a curved “edge” display, without really making a strong case for what such a feature is needed. Edge screens then became the norm across Galaxy S and Note phone series, and Samsung quickly dropped the moniker once it was clear to buyers that all Galaxy S and Note models would have displays with curved edges.

A new discovery shows that Samsung may reinvent the “edge” display to suit its foldable smartphone needs.

The Galaxy X, which Samsung will launch only in late 2018 in a best-case scenario, might be one of Samsung’s most exciting phones in years.But Samsung hasn’t really explained what we can expect from such a smartphone form factor. Will be a truly innovative foldable phone, or will it be a rather “boring” design such as the ZTE Axon M?

Instead of clarity from Samsung, we’ve seen a slew of design patents flood the web, each showing a slightly different Samsung foldable phone creation.

The latest one, found over USPTO by Mobielkopen, shows a foldable Galaxy X phone that also features edge displays along the width of the phone.

The Galaxy S8’s Infinity Display is what actually does a great job explaining the need for a curved display. It’s one way to significantly reduce the side bezels of a phone. And that design stands out in a phone like the Galaxy S8 which also has smaller top and bottom edges or an “all-screen” design.

The edge screens on a foldable phone may have a different purpose, as shown in these images. The edges may show notifications when the phone is closed like a wallet. Samsung introduced edge-related features a few years ago, although they’re not must-have apps on the existing Galaxy S or Note phones.

A Galaxy X with curved edges, on the other hand, might actually be useful, as it’d tell the user when to actually fold out the phone.

The patent also describes technology that would allow the smartphone to determine the position of the display, and adjust screen use accordingly. Sensors would measure the angle of the screen, and only light up the part of the display that’s visible to the user. In such a case, the user could open the smartphone only briefly, to read the entirety of a message that was previously shown on the edge display. That would be one way to conserve battery power and prevent users from constantly looking at a phone’s screen.

The patent was filed all the way back in November 2015, and awarded to Samsung on January 9th, 2018. However, just because Samsung won this particular patent doesn’t mean that any technology describe therein will make it into the first Galaxy X phone.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.