Galaxy Note 8
A new patent is shedding light on what Samsung could be planning for the Galaxy Note 8’s successor. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

If Samsung’s latest patent is to be believed, the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 successor could feature a display that has holes near its topmost part. The holes are said to have the special purpose of allowing the device to have an almost full screen-to-body ratio.

South Korean news outlet Korea Herald learned Friday that Samsung has been granted a patent detailing what seems to be a new design approach the company is experimenting on. From the looks of the illustration in the patent, this new design approach could be what the tech giant is planning to adopt for its Galaxy Note 9 flagship phablet later this year.

The patent is titled “Electronic apparatus having a hole area within screen and control method thereof” and it was filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization. It has a thorough explanation about the tiny holes that could accommodate the different sensors and front camera lens of the smartphone.

Although the patent does not specifically mention the Galaxy Note 9, the illustrated handset that Samsung included in the document strongly resembles the Galaxy Note 8 save for the part that shows a large bottom cut-out, which could be used for the fingerprint reader.

Having holes on the upper part of the front display would allow Apple’s biggest rival to embed the front camera and other sensors directly into the screen instead of the top bezel. This way, the new smartphone’s display could extend all the way up to provide users with more screen estate.

Should Samsung move forward with this new invention, the Galaxy Note 9 could debut with a longer Infinity Display and very thin top and bottom bezels. The bezels on the Note 8 are already thin compared to previous Note installments, but Samsung could literally push the limit and go for bezels that are extremely thin.

There’s no really telling if the new patented display holes would be part of the Note 9. Samsung patents all of its inventions and new technologies, but not all of its patents see the light of the day. Many do not materialize into real products, so it’s possible that the Galaxy Note 9 won’t come with the display holes and thinner top and bottom bezels.

It is also worth noting that Samsung’s upcoming flagships — the Galaxy S9, S9+ and Note 9 — are expected to be minor upgrades compared to their predecessors, which came with a new design language. They are likely to launch with almost identical appearances as their predecessors, with the inclusion of a few tweaks and feature upgrades.

Samsung is set to unveil the Galaxy S9 and S9+ at next month’s Mobile World Congress 2018. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Note 9 is expected to launch sometime in the second half of 2018.