KEY POINTS

  • A new patent application reveals Samsung's plans to revive an old feature from a phone in 2015
  • The feature allows users to do a lot of things simply by touching the edge of a smartphone display
  • The new feature is not connected to the 2015 tech, which was discontinued

Samsung may have plans to revive the side icons and controls feature in the Galaxy S6 Edge handset, which was released in 2015, based on a new patent.

In 2015, Samsung released the Galaxy S6 Edge – a smartphone that was once considered by various publications and review sites as the best Android handset during its time. This device featured a fantastic display that curves at its sides.

The curves weren't simply meant to make the device look good. Samsung's Edge Display tech allowed users to maximize the use of their Galaxy S6 Edge handsets by way of side icons and controls. These icons launched apps, gave easy access to contacts, opened Messages faster, and so on.

Patently Apple noted that while Samsung's Edge Display tech was an idea “ahead of its time,” the Korean tech giant discontinued the feature because it still had a few problems that didn't make it easy for users.

Fast forward years later to 2019, Samsung applied for a patent that shows its interest in bringing back the discontinued feature. The new patent is not connected to the technology used on the Galaxy S6 Edge; rather, it's an old idea that is reinvented for future devices.

The patent application simply titled “Electronic Device” was filed in May last year, but only published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office very recently. The Patent describes an electronic device that has a touch display. The touch display includes an edge portion on both the left and right sides. Underneath the display edges lies pressure sensors that are designed to detect actuations.

Patent illustrations reveal that the display edges will have sensors from top to bottom. These sensors can be controlled using taps, swipes, or squeezes. The sensors can also be programmed to respond in different ways, depending on the function assigned to them, or on how the user actuates the sensors.

A schematic diagram included in the patent indicates that the sensors will watch for “first input signals” (taps, swipes or squeezes), and also monitor “second input signals” (the duration of the tap, swipe or squeeze). These signals will determine the response the device will make.

Samsung plans to use the edge sensors to control various applications including the phone app, camera app, messages app, email app, internet browser, music player, video player, alarm clock, and flashlight.