Skip to main content

Samsung's new patent shows a smartwatch with a camera, wristband display

samsung camera wristband watch gear s2 vs apple 5379
Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends
Samsung’s next wearable might have a flexible display built into the wristband — and a camera. A new patent application filed by the Seoul, South Korea-based company shows a smartwatch with an edge-to-edge display that wraps around your wrist.

The patent, filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this month, shows a prototypical watch design with wristband screen that shows shortcuts to the watch’s apps — there appear to be icons for an email client, a music player, a photo gallery, and settings.

SamMobile notes that it’s a little like the Edge feature on Samsung’s Galaxy S8, which uses smartphone screen’s curved edges to show notifications, shortcuts, and other content. If the proposed display’s anything like Edge, it would be highly customizable — presumably, you’d be able to swap between incoming messages, favorite contacts, widgets, recent apps, and more.

It’s a different tact than aftermarket accessories like the Rifft CT Band, which feature secondary displays built into the wristband. But the technology’s not unfeasible — Samsung’s Gear S has a curved screen, as does Microsoft’s discontinued Band 2.

Samsung’s prototypical smartwatch has another surprise: A camera. Like the company’s first-generation Gear smartwatch, which had a 2MP camera for wrist-level shots, Samsung’s proposed design features watchband-mounted sensor. But unlike the original Galaxy Gear, it’s described as sporting an optical zoom for higher-quality shots.

This month’s smartwatch patent follows on the heels of Samsung’s April design, which showed a smartwatch with a flexible secondary display on a rotary dial around the outer edge. It, like the wristband display, would show information like the current weather and recently played songs.

Samsung isn’t the only one exploring the idea of a camera-equipped smartwatch. In June, Apple filed a patent for watch with a camera “oriented to allow a users to capture images of nearby objects in the environment, such as a bar code or QR code.” And startup company Arrow’s proposed smartwatch featured a rotating bezel with an 8MP camera, replete with autofocus and HD video recording.

And Apple’s working on electronic watchbands of its own. Rumor has it that the Apple Watch Series 3 — expected to launch this fall — will feature interchangeable “smart bands” with sensors and other components.

But in curved-screen display tech, Samsung might have a leg up on the competition. In February, it filed a patent for a device with a mechanical hinge in the middle and a flexible screen that folds inwards. And at a conference last year in San Francisco the company demonstrated a flexible 5.7-inch, 1080p display that could roll up like a scroll.

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G vs. Google Pixel 6 camera shootout
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G and the Pixel 6 go head to head in a photoshoot.

Over the last few years, midrange smartphone photography has taken huge leaps in quality. As long as your lighting is good and your subjects aren't moving, you could definitely snap some Instagram-worthy shots. Two solid contenders in this category are the Google Pixel 6, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. Both of these phones sit at around the $600 price point, and both will give you some really outstanding results.

Naturally, I decided to pit these phones against each other in a camera shootout. Both bring really solid cameras to the table, so I wanted to see where the strengths and weaknesses were by looking at a number of different categories and lighting conditions. Here's what I found.

Read more
Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus hands-on: All-new on the inside
The back of the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus.

If you just take a quick glance at the new Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus announced during the company's Unpacked event, you might think they’re very similar to the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus. You certainly do have to look closely to see the differences in design as Samsung has been very subtle in updating these two phones, but the changes inside are more meaningful, and after a short time with both phones, the small Galaxy S22 is looking like the real winner. Here's what the new Galaxy S22 phones are like.

Changing the look
Those familiar with the S21 and S21 Plus will immediately notice the S22 has become a tiny bit bigger, while the S22 Plus has become a little smaller. There are only a few millimeters between them, but the S22 Plus does feel surprisingly compact for a phone with a 6.6-inch screen. On paper, the screen is a little smaller on both phones this time around, with the S22 having a 6.1-inch screen compared to the S21’s 6.2-inch screen, and a 6.6-inch screen on the S22 Plus rather than the 6.7-inch screen of the S21 Plus.

Read more
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE’s freshly leaked posters show nothing new
Early renders of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE in multiple color options

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE saga has been an unpredictable roller coaster ride so far, with a lot of confusion over its ultimate fate. While some reports said Samsung has canceled the S21 FE, recent developments seem to suggest the contrary. Earlier this week, the phone made an appearance on benchmarking platform Geekbench, toting Samsung’s Exynos 2100 processor. And earlier today, folks over at CoinBRS released a bunch of images that appear to be very authentic-looking promotional materials for the Galaxy S21 FE.

These promotional materials include images of the phone in four color variants, but do not reveal any hardware specifications. One of the images in the posters, however, caught our attention (see below). The poster shows the Galaxy S21 FE placed alongside the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and the Galaxy Watch 4.  What makes this image noteworthy is that both the wearable devices alongside the phone are already on sale and were announced on August 11, 2021, alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3.

Read more