Now that Apple has introduced 3D Touch on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, it’s Samsung’s turn to match or better. It has already been reported that Samsung will most likely implement something similar in next year’s Galaxy S7, and a new patent might reveal what Samsung is planning.
Samsung actually filed for this patent (10-2015-0117120) in April 2014, but the Korean Intellectual Property Office just made it public. It’s titled, “Touch Input Apparatus and Electronic Device Having Thereof” and it seems to deal with either a keyboard on a mobile display or an attachable cover for both smartphones and tablets.
In a nutshell, each key on the keyboard will decipher the force of touch to determine the output. For example, when pressing the “a” key lightly, the output might be the lowercase “a,” but the uppercase “A” could be chosen by a harder touch. The same force of touches could also be used to decipher between special characters as well.
Samsung’s implementation uses voltage to detect the pressure applied. The drawings indicate that the keyboard will alter input based on 1.5V and 3.0V. Samsung also later translates this into grams by saying that 1.5v is the equivalent of 80g and 3V is the equivalent of 35g of pressure.
What’s most interesting about the patent is that Samsung plans to implement this technology on both an onscreen keyboard as well as on a separate accessory with actual hard keys. This separate accessory appears to be a flip-style cover with a built-in keyboard. Samsung could also add this feature to something very similar to the keyboard case that debuted with the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus.
It seems like an obvious assumption that this new tech will wind up on the Galaxy S7. However, if Samsung does bring force touch features to the S7, it’s likely to go well beyond the keyboard and be a feature throughout the entire user interface. Of course, this patent could be part of the picture or not included at all, since patents don’t always come to fruition.
We will be keeping an eye on this one and will report on any new developments as they arise.
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