A lot has been made of Samsung's 2018 releases in recent months. From the Galaxy S9 to a potential foldable smartphone, the company has teased a few different handsets – and more details have been leaked – but nothing has officially been announced regarding what the Korean firm will be bringing us next year.
However, in addition to the handsets mentioned above, it looks like Samsung might have yet another treat in store for consumers. A new leak has hinted that the company might well be releasing a completely bezel-less smartphone, which would be a first not just for Samsung but for the whole mobile phone world.
For the uninitiated, bezels are basically the frame around a phone's display; essentially any part of the front of the phone that isn't the screen. There has been a bit of an arms race recently, with manufacturers aiming to have the smallest bezels possible.
The reason for this is simple: if a phone's bezels are smaller, more of the front of the phone can be dedicated to the display. This means screens can be larger without increasing the overall size of the device, which is needed if smartphones are to continue to be as portable as they currently are.
The potential for Samsung to release a phone with no bezels at all is therefore exciting. But how could this be achieved? Well, according to the leak, it will involve a curved screen that bends round to the back of the device, meaning there would be no need for bezels on the side of the phone.
This information comes from the database of the World International Property Office (WIPO), which published a series of patents from Samsung on November 30th. These were uncovered by Dutch website LetsGoDigital, which has been a reliable source of information about upcoming releases in the past.
The patent shows how the phone would have a screen that curves around the top, bottom and sides of the device. This means – you guessed it – no bezels. Samsung has experimented with similar designs with the Galaxy Round and Galaxy Edge, but this is a completely new design.
The patents alone don't guarantee that Samsung will be releasing any such device, as the company could simply be ensuring that another organisation doesn't end up bringing out something similar. However, there is one major clue suggesting that the Korean firm is intending to produce the device.
Along with designs, the patents filed by Samsung include details on how the bezel-less phone would be manufactured. This suggests that the company is not just interested in the designs in theory, but is focused on bringing it to market.
So what would be the advantages of a bezel-less phone? According to Forbes contributor Gordon Kelly, “it would bring new functionality such as side or top notifications”. In addition, “it would allow the replacement of physical power and volumes buttons with virtual ones that reduce repairs and increase water resistance”.
Of course, nothing is certain at this stage, as all we know is that the patents have been filed. However, it seems likely that Samsung will eventually release a phone with this design. First of all, there is the fact that the Korean tech giant has already experimented a lot with curved screens; in fact, the company may well be releasing a foldable smartphone next year.
However, another reason this phone could well become a reality is that the trend at the moment is for phones with smaller bezels. This can be seen across many different companies, from Apple to Motorola, as firms race to have larger screens without increasing the size of their devices.
Releasing a phone without any bezels at all would firmly corner this area of the market for Samsung. However, until the handset comes out nothing is certain, and if trends change before then it is possible Samsung would abandon the design altogether.