You might be perfectly happy with your current smartwatch, but what if its screen could roll out and extend to become bigger? And what if it had a little camera for snapping pictures from your wrist too? Interested?
Samsung patent filings spotted by LetsGoDigital (opens in new tab) suggest that these features are in the pipeline, perhaps in time for the Galaxy Watch 5 – although that's perhaps a little early for this technology to make it from the drawing board into a real product.
The Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic broke cover in August, marking the switch back to Google's Wear OS software rather than Samsung's own Tizen operating system, and so we'd expect any follow-up devices to appear in August 2022.
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More screen space
As you can see from the pictures procured by LetsGoDigital, smartwatch users of the future would use a pinch-and-zoom gesture to roll out the display on their wrists, giving an extra 40% of screen space according to the document submitted by Samsung (it runs to 96 pages, by the way).
The watch crown can also be used to manipulate the display it looks like, while the frame between the two halves of the screen can optionally house a little camera and a flash – so you'll be able to take photos and videos without getting your old smartphone out.
As ever with patents, this indicates something Samsung is thinking about – not necessarily something it's ever going to launch. However, it's an intriguing prospect, and one that could help the Galaxy Watch devices of the future stand out amongst the competition.
Analysis: smartwatches are growing up
Smartwatches have been around for years at this point, but it's fair to say that they haven't evolved too much since their inception – in fact, it's difficult to know how they might evolve, other than packing in more sensors and improving performance year on year.
Innovations in terms of the display could be one way that smartwatches move forward, as this newly discovered patent from Samsung. Devices like the Nubia Watch have shown how curved, wraparound screens could work on these wearables, although these alternative designs only feature on a small number of devices right now.
It's obviously not easy to get a curved piece of glass manufactured at this small a size, and if Samsung does bring its extendable smartwatch screen to market, it's going to have to overcome some serious engineering challenges to get it working smoothly and reliably.
However, it's an indication of where the smartwatch industry is going: and we like the direction. With manufacturers continuing to get better at making foldable phones and miniaturized internal components, we're hopeful that we'll see more and more innovative smartwatches in the years ahead.