Huawei may have been the first to use a square camera bump that is not being adopted by others but it may be ironically abandoning as well. The Huawei P40, which is expected to debut this week, will follow the trend of elongated rectangular boxes down the side of the phone. The Huawei Mate 40, however, might keep the circle its predecessor bore last year. And if a newly-granted patent is any indication, it might have something that no other phone has dared to offer.
The Mate 30 series adopted a circular camera design, in contrast to the Mate 20’s pioneering square construction, but it also had a wide ring around it. That ring is pretty much decorative, serving no other purpose than to make it look nice. It seems, however, that Huawei actually has some rather interesting ideas about it going as far back as mid-2019.
The patent, which was granted in China just this month, shows a ring that is actually a touch screen. Not just a touch-sensitive surface but a touch-sensitive circular display that wraps around the cameras. LetsGoDigital shows the many possible uses of this ring display, both informational and interactive.
The ring could do more than just light up for a notification, it could also actually display a snippet of the notification’s text. More importantly, it can also be used to control the phone using swiping gestures around the ring or even direct taps at specific sides. These controls can range from music playback to accepting or rejecting calls or even zooming in and out with the camera.
It’s definitely an ingenious use of dead space that could provide useful when the phone is lying on its face or when the index finger is always in that area anyway. It could, of course, also drive the price up for an already expensive handset. Then again, it is just a patent and the Mate 40 isn’t expected until the second half of 2020, giving Huawei plenty of time to make up its mind on the feature.