Samsung is attempting to patent a dual touch-sensor device – such as a tablet or large smartphone – where both the screen up front and the back of the unit respond to touch and gestures. According to the application – “Mobile terminal having dual touch screen and method of controlling content therein” – the user could control the slate either by touching the display, as normal, or by tracing out the same motions on the rear panel. Meanwhile more complex control – such as zooming gestures – could integrate both front and rear panel touch.
To be fair, it’s certainly not the first time we’ve seen rear-mounted touchpads. Motorola’s Backflip smartphone has a touchpad on the back of the display, for using it without blocking the screen with your fingers, while Notion Ink’s Adam prototype also has a rear touchpad.
Samsung’s attempt to differentiate from these existing implementations appears to involve the interplay of software with the dual-touch hardware; for instance, rather than replicating a front-touch, using the rear touch-sensor could trigger a different function using the same on-screen control. That way Samsung could double up on functionality without having to introduce extra clutter to the display, similar to using a keyboard modifier. Of course, they’ll have to prove that their concept is sufficiently different if they want to get the patent approved.
[via Unwired View]