Samsung patent shows off buttonless phone design, may also feature a fingerprint scanner

by: Andrew GrushJanuary 22, 2014

Samsung Brand Shots CES 2014-6

After the Samsung Galaxy S4 debuted last year packing essentially the same look as the GS3 with only a few minor differences, we instantly started hearing complaints about how Samsung’s design needed to be revamped. To make matters worse, handsets like the HTC One were praised for their premium metal-bodied designs.

Since then, Samsung has changed up their design language a bit, starting with the Galaxy Note 3. As you likely know already, the Note 3 features a different kind of plastic from its predecessors that was designed to mimic the look and feel of leather. Will this design language continue to be used going forward? While we don’t know officially one way or another, there have been a number of patents filed by Samsung that suggest changes may be heading our way.

Earlier this month we reported on two concept devices based on Samsung design patents that contained no physical buttons. Now it looks like another such design has surfaced, this time with an intriguing twist: the back shows an unidentified object on the top right side that may possibly be a fingerprint scanner.

Interestingly enough, a recent report out of Korea claims that the Galaxy S5 will feature a fingerprint reader, instead of the previously rumored iris scanner. Although we have no real way of knowing if the object in the image is actually a fingerprint reader and not something else entirely, we wouldn’t be too surprised.

Even if this design patent really does pack a fingerprint scanner, there is no guarantees that the patent is actually describing the Galaxy S5 or any actual Samsung device. Companies often file design patents like this in order to cover their bases, and yet many times the design never makes its way directly into any real product.

What do you think of the latest patent design from Samsung? Do you feel its time for Samsung to move on from physical buttons? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

  • Nathan Borup

    buttonless design… really? I thought samsung was all about buttons

    • LOL

    • muddy46

      I would be very happy to see their oversized ugly home buttons disspaear. Samsung makes nice phones, except for those front buttons.

      • Jesus


        When you look at other phones without home buttons, there’s nothing.

        It’s not oversized; it’s just making use of the empty space. And by doing that, maximising screen space; giving tactile ‘click’ feedback and touch sense, and a sense of screen orientation.

        Buttons are good.

        • Tuấn Ankh

          I really like those buttons, and it’s even better that Samsung made the back and menu buttons invisible as long as the lights aren’t on. I’m neutral on the home button though. Without it, the front will look cleaner and more classy in a different way. With it, the phone still looks great. Don’t forget what Apple learnt from Samsung’s home button and put it into the 5S.
          And you’re perfectly right. It’s not oversized; it’s just making use of the empty space. With an exception of the Moto X which has very small bottom bezel, I’ve seen no other phone with softkey button that has a noticeably smaller bottom bezel than the Galaxy S4.

          • Jesus

            LG G2’s got the smallest bottom bezel. And size bezel too!

            Anyhow, “Don’t forget what Apple learnt from Samsung’s home button and put it into the 5S.” …what did Apple learn?

          • Tuấn Ankh

            Umm… Can I say the home button? It’s just the metallic rim around the home button. I didn’t even notice that until I put my Galaxy Mega and my sis’ iPhone 5S side to side. That’s what I really like on both devices (and the 5S puts the 5’s home button to shame, like when comparing the S4 and the S2 home button).
            As for the G2, I really like what LG did with the side bezels. What I was saying is that the bottom bezel didn’t get any noticeably smaller than the S4. It’s just as big, or maybe only half a millimeter smaller? I already put the two phones side to side to compare. I also mentioned that the Moto X is the one that got smaller bottom bezel. Not sure if the design of the X fooled my eyes, but by looking at the two side by side, the Moto X got smaller bottom bezel than the G2.

        • Tjaldid

          don’t deny it that they could make the bezel smaller if they got rid of the buttons

          • Tuấn Ankh

            List all phone without the buttons that has smaller bottom bezel smaller than the Galaxy S4, please? Then look at how much space the on-screen buttons take off the display.
            I’m okay without the separate buttons (as I used the Nexus 4 and 5). But then reality is what really matters. They haven’t really helped reducing anything.

          • Jesus

            Nope. The bezel’s already small enough. Look at the Galaxy S4; that’s ridiculously small.

            Compare the GS4’s bottom bezel size to say… the HTC One, or the LG Nexus 5. The latter two’s bottom bezel are THICKER, and they don’t even have buttons.

            (but the LG G2’s got the smallest bottom bezel. It indeed has not buttons… but still, it’s not an advantage)

    • A googler

      They press apples enough!

  • dandroid13

    Why can’t we have a Samsung article without having mentions to HTCrap?

    • amine aussie are shills

      …because hipsters need to be constantly validated in their purchases of polished turds.

      • Brandon Miranda

        Well said.

  • Joseph Glenn Hartley

    Reminiscent of the Moto X.

  • namesib

    Nooooo Samsung! Keep the button! Permanent 100% screen space FTW

    Plenty of space for a physical button on that bottom bezel. PUT IT TO USE.

    • Jayfeather787

      It’s the future, makes for more screen space on a smaller form factor. If you want full screen, install paranoid android and go immersive mode.

      • namesib

        There is still enough space for hardware buttons on that bezel and there’s only so much a bezel can be reduced before it becomes uncomfortable to use.

      • Jesus


        Other phones without buttons still can’t fully maximise the screen size. So they end up with an empty strip.

        Meanwhile, the Galaxy s4 uses that strip and put in the Home button. THis maximises the screen real estate, all the time.

        • Damon Lewis

          Immersive mode.

          • Johan Fourie

            Immersive mode with a home button at the bottom. That’s what what you currently get with a Samsung phone. Why settle for less?

          • Jayfeather787

            No, that is not immersive mode, the status bar is still there.

          • Jesus

            Point is, with the Galaxy s4, you don’t need immersive mode; it’s ALWAYS IMMERSIVE MODE.

          • Jayfeather787

            No, immersive mode hides status bar AND nav bar. The Galaxy S4 shows the status bar all the time, so it is never immersive mode. If I get this without buttons at the bottom, and use permanent immersive mode, in every app, everywhere, it will have more screen space.

          • Jesus

            Immersive mode… if your app supports it. Which most does not, including Google apps (e.g. Chrome, wtf)

            Also if it indeed has immersive mode, to get the home buttons, you need to swipe up and THEN you get access. Extra hassle.

          • jerbear294

            I just use CyanogenMod and expanded desktop mode. 100 percent compatibility. ‘Nuff said.
            If you don’t like so little Immersive Mode compatibility just flash a ROM with Expanded Desktop, 4.4 ROMs use the same exact code for both AFAIK

          • Jesus

            “Also if it indeed has immersive mode, to get the home buttons, you need to swipe up and THEN you get access. Extra hassle.” nuff said.

  • Ben Edwards

    On-screen keys ftw, good move Samsung.

    • Jesus

      No… bad move.

      • MSmith79

        No…good move.

        • Eddjz

          No… bad move

          • Tuấn Ankh

            I think it’s a bad move, but since there is a pattern here…
            No… good move.

      • Ben Edwards

        Back to the cross with you!

  • Mikesphoneandtab

    I don’t really mind the front buttons. Physical buttons are very assuring, they also prevent me from launching Google Now while using Swype or playing a game, and stop me from accidentally hitting the home button. I don’t mind the buttonless design. I am trying this message on a Nexus 7, but just like the whole build quality argument, it’s not an intrinsic flaw in its design, rather it’s simply an alternate aesthetic choice.

    • Oaster

      Yeah I agree, physical button really helps when playing action game

  • jack

    Fingerprint.. Scamsung’s dog eaters again shamelessly eating Apple’s dirt

    • Jesus

      It’s “Samsung” you idiot.

      • Tuấn Ankh

        haha. Right in the face. xD

    • A googler

      Dog eaters?? Wtf

    • MSmith79

      So I assume when iOS 7 came out, you made the same comment about Apple, since nearly every new feature in iOS 7 was already available on Android?

  • JayEvans

    Finger print scanner? LOL No.

    It’s a second speaker for landscape use. That way your fingers don’t muffle the audio while watching video.

  • Joseph Teply

    Their is NO need for a physical home button. The ONLY physical buttons needed are the power and volume!! That’s it. I just hope they also do this with the new galaxy note 4!!!

  • Xavier_NYC

    If this is the S5 this would be clutch. Throw in a Google edition and this will easily be the best phone on the market.

  • Xavier_NYC

    Ten bucks say’s the bottom part will have a HUGE Samsung logo there.

    • Jesus

      They were never huge to begin with… so, I wouldn’t count on you winning professor xavior nyc

      • Xavier_NYC

        professor Xavier how original of you -__- and the logos on the front of the phone serve no purpose. I understand branding but one logo on the back is enough.

        • Jesus

          Logos? wtf do they have to do with anything

  • Dimitar Gospodinov

    And where exactly is that fingerprint scanner going to be?…Or the isris scanner for that matter…

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    I wish the home screen button was cooler but actually I agree on keeping it, on a smaller screen like a phone, I don’t want to lose that space to navigation bar.

    • RusticKey

      Agh, my phone’s confusing me, I replied to the wrong guy.

  • MSmith79

    Thank god. I hate their physical home button. Why make the most frequently used button harder to hit? Makes no sense.

  • M3D1T8R

    Samsung’s stubborn Apple-like clinging to their obsolete physical home button and backwards button layout is the one thing that made me swear them off. I got so sick of it with my then brand new GS3 after getting used to the standard android 3 button setup with my nexus 7, I sold the S3 and got a Galaxy Nexus for a while, eventually insurance-replaced with an HTC DNA, and I love it, even though it has capacitive buttons instead of on screen, at least they’re the right the buttons in the right order.