We recently saw Chinese manufacturer Oppo launched their flagship smartphone N1 with a rear touch panel. Looks like Samsung has gone a step ahead and filed a patent for transparent displays with touch controls on both sides.
Samsung showcased LCD TV with transparent display way back in 2010, now they are planning to bring the technology to smartphones and also fuse touch sensors at the front and back of the transparent display to allow different input operations.
Samsung has clearly shown the type of operations that are possible using the transparent display:
Backside Touch to open App folders:
Users can use the backside touch to see a larger image of the folder with contents inside it clearly visible without being obstructed by the finger like in case of front touch. Something similar is also available in Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 where AirView feature allows the user to preview the contents.
Revealing hidden text/Menu/Options and making the screen opaque
Touching a certain part of the display can reveal extra menu options, a note, photo, or any other additional information.
There might be times when transparent display might not be suitable like for watching movies or viewing photos. According to the patent diagram the user can make the screen opaque by a slide down gesture on the backside of the display.
Simultaneously moving overlapping objects
Looks like future UI of Samsung smartphones will having overlapping interactive objects on screen and they can be moved simultaneously. The top object can be moved by touching the top screen and the lower object can be moved touching the rear screen.
More complex lock screen combinations
Since both sides of the display can be used to provide touch input, there can be two 3×3 grids to unlock the device, one for the front side and one for the back side, therefore increasing the security by two folds.
Controlling Video or Slideshow
The rear display can be used to control the video that is playing using the back touch. One can also browse pictures or control slideshow using the rear side touch screen. This way the finger doesn’t block the view when carrying out the above operations.
The patent was filed in Q2 of this year in the US while in Korea it was filed last year. We do not know if this display technology will become reality any time soon. For now we have to stay content with flexible and curved displays, like Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex.