Samsung patent reveals plans for circular, gesture-controlled smartwatch

samsung galaxy gear smartwatch review rear clasp macro

Samsung has filed a series of new patents which could reveal plans for a Moto 360-challenging smartwatch, complete with a circular face. The patents are surprisingly detailed, providing not only a look at the device’s interface, but also listing an interesting gesture control system. The watch’s round face can be attached to a wrist strap as usual, but there’s also a hint the face will be detachable, and able to be worn as a necklace, on a keychain, or on your arm, where it could presumably function mainly as a fitness tracker.

Samsung already produces a range of smartwatch models, introduced during Mobile World Congress this year, which have square faces and use the Tizen operating system. Although it’s not mentioned in the patents, the mysterious round Samsung watch could be the firm’s first attempt at one running Google’s Android Wear software.

While the design is exciting, the control system Samsung has patented is even more so. Digging through the patents, it looks like Samsung will utilize the round bezel as a way to navigate through menus and options. Several drawings show a hand twisting the watch face left or right, an easier and more intuitive system than prodding at tiny on-screen buttons. Recently, the Span concept smartwatch with an incorporated jog dial, and a prototype model with a tilting, twisting screen highlighted how effective this control method could be on a wrist-worn device.

Gesture controls are also on hand (sorry) to make the watch easier to control. By using a built-in camera, the patents reveal certain features could be activated by showing the lens either a number of fingers, or by making certain shapes. The international “OK” symbol is used as an example, rather than a cute little bunny. Other hand-based gestures shown include a thumbs up, an “air swipe” past the lens, and even a pointing gesture.

The latter could be related to object recognition, which is also included in the patent. Again, it uses the watch’s camera to view images, objects, and barcodes. A Word Lens-style translation feature should come in handy for travelers. Finally, Samsung also intends to make its watch a universal remote control, where the twisting bezel could switch channels or adjust the volume. An infrared blaster will likely be fitted for this to work. 

At the moment, all we have to go on is a set of patents, which may or may not relate to a product being worked on by Samsung. However, we doubt it’ll be keen to let Motorola dominate the world of round smartwatches, so a competing model certainly sounds plausible. If so, we hope it can integrate all the control methods and features seen in the patents.

Product Review

Screen snags aside, the Galaxy Fold is an exciting step toward a foldable future

Samsung's Galaxy Fold is the company's first foldable phone, with two screens, six cameras, and a dual-cell battery. The phone may be delayed due to display issues, but that doesn't stop us from asking -- what's it like to use?
Mobile

Samsung begins retrieving all the Galaxy Fold review units

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Deals

Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches get big price cuts

The Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear S3 are at some of the lowest prices we've seen since so far this year. With discounts from Amazon and Walmart, now is a great time to find spring savings on wearables.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 update gives manual control of Bright Night mode

Samsung 2019 flagship smartphone lineup is here, and there aren't just two phones as usual — there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.
Mobile

Best iPhone 7 Plus screen protectors to shield your big, beautiful display

Cracked screens are expensive to replace. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up what's available in terms of protection for Apple's large iPhone 7 Plus. Here are the best screen protectors you can buy.
Mobile

Add style and functionality with the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases

No tablet should be without protection, especially an expensive one. Check out our picks for the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases, so you can add some protection, functionality, and style to your new device.
Mobile

Amazon cuts prices on Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 3 smartwatches

In the market for a new smartwatch? The Apple Watch is the best one, and right now it's a little more affordable than it usually is. The Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple Watch Series 3 are both available at discounted prices straight from…
Home Theater

Bose QuietComfort 35 II wireless headphones get a $93 price cut

Good head-fi is expensive, but a premium set of headphones is worth it. The excellent Bose Quietcomfort 35 Series II is on sale right now from Rakuten with a two-day coupon code that can save you more than 90 bucks.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.
Mobile

Weird Galaxy View 2 is a TV-style tablet to take your mind off the Galaxy Fold

Samsung may be about to resurrect a product line that last saw an entry three years ago. Renders of the Galaxy View 2 show it's sticking to the tablet-that-thinks-it's-a-TV formula.
Deals

The latest Apple iPad Pros get steep discounts on Amazon

The iPad Pro is now in its third generation, and the 2018 refresh of this premium tablet is, hands down, Apple’s best one yet. It’s on sale right now, too, for a good discount which can let you score one for as little as $675.
Mobile

These parental control apps will help keep your kids' device habits in check

Looking for extra security and monitoring on mobile devices? Take a look at the best parental control apps for limiting time and keeping watch on your child's phone usage and behavior. We have the top options for Android and iOS here.
Mobile

The OnePlus 7 Pro will have four launch events to celebrate its release

The OnePlus 6T may still be new, but we're already looking ahead to the upcoming OnePlus 7. It will use the Snapdragon 855, and may have a new pop-up front camera, too. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 7.
Smart Home

The Houzz app now lets you virtually tile your floor with augmented reality

Augmented reality is starting to be a real bonus to apps like Houzz's View in My Room 3D tool, which recently added the ability to measure how a tiled floor might look in your living space.