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Samsung might be considering jumping on the squeezable phone bandwagon

Published Nov 1st, 2018 7:37PM EDT
Samsung patent

Samsung has been busy on the patent application front lately, and a new one has just been published that includes more intriguing possibilities about what the South Korean-based tech giant might have in store for future handset models. Among other things, the company appears to want to change up its phones’ UX a bit with the inclusion of new virtual keys, as well as a new ability to squeeze the display to perform certain actions.

SamMobile has the lowdown on the new patent details. Some of it includes things we’ve already seen in action. “The patent describes several implementations of pressure sensitive virtual keys. One of them we are already familiar with, as the company has used it in devices like the Galaxy S8 and S9: the virtual, pressure sensitive home key.

“Samsung describes how different levels of pressure trigger different actions. This is how, for example, the Galaxy S9 knows whether you are tapping a key in an app, or if you want to return to the home screen. So far, that is nothing new. However, the patent goes on to outline several more ways to employ the same technique.”

According to this patent, the report continues, the handset would measure pressure on either side of the display to detect a squeeze. You could apparently turn the display off by squeezing hard enough, and SamMobile wagers a guess that the bent dual-edge display on Samsung’s flagship phones would make this work.

Meanwhile, the patent application also includes details about a pressure-sensitive power key that would function like the virtual home key.

“Depending on how hard you press, the display switches off, the phone reboots, or an emergency mode is triggered,” SamMobile reports. “With the application of pressure, an indicator on the screen shows the user which action will be triggered.” Certainly that same kind of functionality could also be applied to, say, volume keys or any new virtual button.

Nevertheless, it’s now time for the usual caveat with stories like this: The existence of a patent does not mean the idea therein is guaranteed to ever see the light of day. If Samsung has shown us anything, though, it’s that the company is not afraid of trying out all manner of new tricks and features, whether its bringing us everything from a much-anticipated foldable phone to adding some kind of new squeeze functionality to its handsets.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.