Samsung is looking to enhance the fingerprint senor's capabilities beyond that of only locking and unlocking the phone. The published patent indicates that the company hopes to bring swipe functionalities to their fingerprint scanners, which will enable the user to perform various actions by making swipe gestures on the fingerprint scanner itself. If you are not aware, then let us inform you that this sounds very similar to what the Google Pixel phones brought with them this year. Before you call out Samsung for "copying" the Pixels, note that they had actually filed for this particular patent way back in 2014.
Will we be able to swipe directly from the fingerprint scanner and launch an application from the lock screen on the Galaxy S8? We are not entirely sure to be honest. Many rumors indicate that the S8 will feature the company's first commercial bezel-less display, of which, a new optical fingerprint scanner will be an embedded part. If that turns out to be true, it is hard to tell whether that particular scanner will also be able to support the swipe functionality.
Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)
Earlier this year, We reported that Samsung is rumored to be working on a foldable Tablet and Smartphone, codenamed "Project V". It looks like that these rumors turns out to be true, as a newly published patent (No. 30-0757696) from the company has surfaced online, revealing a tablet display that could fold up to two times, effectively forming a single device.
In the Patent, it isn't clear enough how the device's display would work in its unfolded form but it looks like all three parts will be connected together as a screen to display wide-screen video.
It's worth mentioning that this is a design registration patent, meaning it shows the actual look of a hypothetical device, which may or may not turn into reality. Samsung filed it back in November 2013, and the Korean Intellectual Property Office published it yesterday.
We should see these foldable products in the markets by the end of this year. The price is expected to be high considering the technology used on manufacturing such devices.
It's not the first time we see Samsung filing a patent application for a flexible mobile display, and getting it approved, but in light with the CEO hint that next year we might see a foldable device become reality, the latest patent is worth your attention. The application has been filed last year, and granted July,7th.
This time the twist is that Samsung has filed for a foldable screen not only of the OLED variety, but an LCD one, too, with roughly the size of one of its Galaxy tablets. The circuit board for the LCD one is on the outside of each half, while with the foldable OLED it is integrated into the package, and bends together with the panel.
Another interesting recent Samsung patent approved by the USPTO involves near-invisible virtual buttons. These are active areas situated near the edge of a touchscreen, which can command the camera app, for instance. The so-called "sensor pads" can apparently be mapped to different functions, too, so imagine a back button that is constantly under the tip of your thumb on the side of the phone, without taking physical space below the screen, or a shutter button that doesn't take away from the scene framing. If and how are these becoming reality, remains to be seen, but the R&D departments keep inventing and patenting, so at some point we will see a variation of those materialize, hopefully not too much further down the road.