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Samsung patents an S-Pen case for non-Note Galaxy devices

Samsung has just patented a new potential product in South Korea that will seemingly let any device become an S-Pen product. Let's examine in detail.

Published onJanuary 15, 2016

If Samsung’s Galaxy S series represents the most stunning of the company’s mainstream devices, its Galaxy Note series stands for pure power, performance, and productivity. Over the years some have suggested that incorporating the latter into the former might be a suitably sizzling suggestion. Thanks to the approval of a new patent in Korea, it seems Samsung might be seeking to facilitate such a pipe dream. Let’s take a look, and explore each of the four patent pictures:


In the above picture, the case looks to make the device into an almost Galaxy Note Edge-type design, with the curved glass on the side. Presumably the case surface would be curved and create the illusion that the screen was. Of particular interest is the fact that, via the diagonal lines originating from the edges of the screen, the case looks to cover the entire front of the phone – as opposed to having a “window” – and thus it’s feasibly possible that the “new” display would actually contain the digitizer layer that is otherwise lacking from non-Note hardware.

On the other hand, if this is not an S-Pen holder but perhaps a C-Pen, then it could very well work with any device possible, though the question would then be raised why Samsung need make such an elaborate structure just to hold a standard-fare stylus. For reference, the S-Pen uses Wacom technology.


Above the inside of the device can be seen, and with it several important details to consider:

  1. The accessory looks to snap onto the phone via the clips on the left side of the image, which would be the right side of the phone. (Note this is the rear of the case). As there are no clips on the other side however, it would remain to be seen how secure such a contraption would be. In theory the phone could slide right out.
  2. The S-Pen (shown docked) is clearly the push-to-eject variety that debuted with the Galaxy Note 5. Because the shape of the S-Pen’s “eraser” looks to be curved, it is unlikely the stylus that came with said Note 5 would be compatible for storage.
  3. There is a camera and ear-piece cut out, along with spaces for the relevant sensors.
  4. There does not appear to be a cut-out for any kind of notification LED.

Here is a flat image of the second picture, once again making prominent display of the clips on the left side of the case, as well as the cut-out for the earpiece, sensors, and camera.


The final picture (above) shows the top and bottom of the case accessory. The slightly “bubbled” area in the center is presumably for the earpiece. Again the concerning aspect arises as to just how this product would securely fit onto the Galaxy smartphone. While it is possible to imagine some kind of adhesive surface along the inner portion of the case, it would have to stick directly onto the glass and thus could possibly interfere with whatever kind of digitizer-esque technology Samsung might presumably include, especially if the adhesive became damaged or soiled by repeated removal.

Another interesting “problem” appears however: looking at the portion of the case with the clip, the angle the smartphone would need to have is clearly a curved one. With a straight side-edge, the case seen in this diagram would never work as it is too thick to fit. This, as a result, leads to the conclusion that the accessory would be for the Galaxy S7 Edge, probably the Galaxy S7 Edge+ given that Samsung views the Note as a large-screen proposal. The problem is that the first picture implies the other edge of the phone is not curved. At the same time, there is no reason Samsung couldn’t make different variants of this device to fit different devices.

Wrap Up

Several key points are left mysteries by this patent filing:

  1. How does the accessory remain attached to the device? It is possible this patent is just for the front of the case, and thus – not pictured – it would work in tandem with a back panel that would somehow attach to the rear of the device. And yet the most logical way to accommodate that would be to have a rear-cover replacement, something that was used for the S-Covers with the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4, and Galaxy Note Edge. Of course, Samsung no longer uses removable rear covers with its flagship phones.
  2. What device(s) would this patent be used for? Given the fact that there is little over a month to the launch of the Galaxy S7 – going by rumors at least – it would remain to be seen as to if Samsung would be able to formally release a product like this after only now being granted a patent. If this is for a product to release later in 2016, what could it be? The only other flagship to note is the Note, and that already has an S-Pen. Could it be for the recently released Galaxy A (2016) series?
  3. Will this become a real product at all? As many know from reading patent stories, especially those related to Apple, companies love to file for patent protection even if the designed device will never materialize. Sometimes it’s not about having what the competition doesn’t, but instead making sure the competition can’t have what you aren’t making.

Whatever the case may be, at the very least the product shown in these pictures gives hope that there will be an S-Pen made available for a non-Note using denizen. Given that last year’s Galaxy Tab A series featured an S-Pen configuration – including a built in silo to store it – it’s quite possible that Korea’s most famous mobile OEM has finally seen the light regarding mass-appeal of a stylus.