Forget folding phones – Samsung's next trick is a wraparound screen

Samsung's wraparound camera phone display offers unique photo potential

Despite the disastrous launch of its now infamous folding phone, Samsung has another fascinating technology for a 'continuous display' screen that folds over two sides of a smartphone. 

Details of a newly approved patent for the new technology were unearthed by Dutch outlet LetsGoDigital (spotted by DP Review). Where the ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Fold features a screen that physically flexes as the device is opened and closed, this patent describes a fixed screen that wraps around the exterior of a phone. 

Samsung's wrapround screen means that both sides of the camera see a live view of the image being taken

Samsung's wrapround screen means that both sides of the camera see a live view of the image being taken

This 'multi face display' not only avoids the folly of the flexible screen that has caused so many problems for Samsung, but also offers a number of unique applications – particularly when it comes to photography, meaning this could form the DNA for the best camera phone.

Because the OLED panel wraps around the outside of the phone, it means that both the photographer (on one side) and the subject (on the other) can both see the display at the same time. Thus, the phone effectively has one giant wraparound selfie screen that can be viewed on both sides of the device.

With a wraparound display, the rear camera can be used for selfies – negating the need for an inferior front camera

With a wraparound display, the rear camera can be used for selfies – negating the need for an inferior front camera

This being the case, there is no practical need for a front-facing camera; rather than wasting space and resources on an inferior selfie cam, a phone using this technology could instead focus on a single powerful rear camera that could be used for all imaging. 

Indeed, the diagrams included in the patent illustrate a Samsung phone that only possesses a high resolution rear-facing camera. 

Samsung suggests some interesting potential for the tech – including a live language translation feature

Samsung suggests some interesting potential for the tech – including a live language translation feature

In addition to enabling your subject(s) to see a live view display of the photo as it's being taken, the wraparound screen's properties facilitate some other interesting features. 

The patent suggests a potential 'live translation modus' to enable communication with speakers of a foreign language. The phone would display an image on one side, facing the foreign speaker, and on the other side a translation of what they are saying can be displayed. 

Since the screen wraps over the edge, simple messages can be displayed on the phone's spine

Since the screen wraps over the edge, simple messages can be displayed on the phone's spine

And, because it wraps around one of the edges of the phone, it can also display simple text messages along the 'spine' for at-a-glance reading in a bag or other situation where the front or back screens are obscured. 

There's every chance that the technology in this patent, which was originally registered in October 2016, may never make it to market – especially in the wake of the Galaxy Fold debacle. Still, it offers a tantalizing glimpse at what the future of camera phones might hold. 

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