A new patent application has appeared this week, potentially giving us a glimpse of what might end up being one of Samsung’s upcoming smartwatches. What makes this particular patent so interesting? It shows a round watch operated by a ring around the face.
To be clear, the filing, originally going back to 2013, isn’t for the circular design or for the idea of operating a smartwatch with a rotating ring. The innovation in the patent is displaying a daily agenda on a circular interface divided into “slices”. Rotating the ring is just one of the proposed ways to edit entries from the agenda.
As with all patents, there’s no guarantee that the idea will ever materialize. Regardless if this technology makes it to a product, we already know that circular smartwatch designs are in the works at Samsung – back in August, SamMobile reported that Samsung is working on an answer to the well-received Moto 360 and LG G Watch R, both round designs. Up until now, Samsung has only launched rectangular designs for its Tizen and Android Wear smartwatches.
Rotating rings are nothing new in the conventional watch industry, but up until now smartwatches have been mostly touch-only affairs. The G Watch R has a prominent ring around its screen, but that only serves to protect the screen. Apple is mixing physical and digital controls for its own Watch, which uses a rotating crown as a primary control. It remains to be seen if and how Samsung will take its ring idea to fruition.