We know Samsung is exploring the idea of phones with rollable screens – it’s teased the technology before – but it looks like transparent screens could also be in the mix for future handsets, according to recently unearthed documents.
Sam-Mobile (opens in a new tab) spotted an application that Samsung submitted to WIPO – the World Intellectual Property Organization – which outlines a handset that not only features a rollable screen, but also a transparent section built into said screen.
Two different models are included in The app (opens in a new tab), but they both illustrate a section of the phone screen that extends from the main screen and is transparent. It looks like the opacity of this extended section will also be adjustable.
Increase your reality
There’s one area where this kind of technology would be really useful, as mentioned in the docs: augmented reality. The extended section of the display could show digital objects while everything in the real world also remains visible.
So, for example, if you’re tracking targets in an augmented reality game, they should be easier to see in physical space. It could also make it easier to text while walking without colliding with a tree or another pedestrian.
As always with these types of apps, there’s no guarantee that this kind of technology will ever appear in a real smartphone, but it does give us an idea of what Samsung engineers are exploring and what we might see in future devices. .
Analysis: display innovation continues
We have foldable phones to thank for some of the most remarkable innovations in smartphone technology in recent years. While everything else that makes up a smartphone remains largely unchanged except for minor year-over-year upgrades, the displays are where the real differences start to show.
As handsets like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 show, having a screen that folds down the middle can open up a variety of new options for a smartphone – whether it’s ending a call with a snap of the phone or have two apps on screen side by side.
Assembling these next-gen displays isn’t that simple, but Samsung and other manufacturers are constantly improving display technology. It seems likely that we’ll see both a foldable Pixel phone from Google and a foldable iPhone from Apple in the not too distant future.
Now, it looks like we could add transparent (or partially transparent) screens to our list of future technologies to watch, as well as foldable and rollable screens. With upgrades on the way in other areas as well, including augmented reality software, there’s a lot to look forward to.