Samsung's smartwatch could be your flexible friend

Design patents show off a big-screened device designed to wrap right round your appendages
Samsung flexible watch patent

It's been all quiet on the smartwatch front these past few weeks, but a Samsung patent has surfaced that's got the rumour mill grinding again.

The three design patents, uncovered by Korean blog Moveplayer, show off a wrist-worn device with a flexible display and Android-esque menu and back buttons at the base of the screen.

We seen youm before

Samsung flexible smartwatch closed

It’s not the first time that Samsung has touted such a design concept, but the previous appearances have been in imaginative this-isn't-really-going-to-happen-and-you-know-it marketing videos. The registration of patents between March and May could indicate that Samsung is actually considering making the thing.

As we saw at CES this year, Samsung already has 'Youm' flexible OLED screen technology that could be deployed in this design, and its patents clearly show a solid portion of the watch that could house its less flexible electronics. We're not expecting any Youm-based devices in 2013, but Samsung has suggested that the tech will be ready for public consumption in 2014

Incorporating a flexible display would give a Samsung watch a larger screen area without compromising its ergonomics. Such a design could take the smartwatch experience beyond the simple notifications, text messaging and run tracking of existing competitors such as Pebble and Sony's SmartWatch 2.

But whether this design will mark Samsung's entry into smartwatches is another question. The 'Altius' OS designs we saw earlier this year, with its square 500x500 format, isn't an obvious match for the flexible screen's elongated display.

We're still waiting for Apple to let slip any hardware details about the rumoured iWatch. As evidence for its existence, right now all we have is a few trademark registrations to go by. Suffice it to say, by the time Apple and Samsung get their acts together, they'll have plenty of competition to contend with.

(Moveplayer via Engadget)