One of Samsung smartwatches' defining features for a while has been their rotary dial (or at least it has for the circle-shaped models
, anyway). So it's no surprise the company would be looking into ways to upgrade that feature in new ways, as evidenced by a new patent application for a screen-equipped dial which is to be possibly used in a future smartwatch.
While, as usual, we advise against getting overly excited for a patent, as there's very little guarantee such a product is anything more than a Samsung engineer's fever dream at the moment. First off, while the company has been using curved displays for quite a while, namely in its flagship smartphones, there's no proof yet whether a 360-degree curved screen is possible with current tech, let alone cost-effective.
On the other hand, the document is overly specific in a few areas, making the possibility of an actual prototype existing a distinct possibility. Firstly, there's the problem of rotation: while Samsung's current rotary dials allow for 360-degree rotation, the proposed one here is limited to a 90-degree angle only, a limitation that may fully well be the result of real-life prototype testing. Also, the patent describes the screen as comprising of two separate parts, which are, curiously enough, stacked vertically on top of each other.
While the patent is a little short on possible software implementations of the feature, it's otherwise quite detailed in terms of chips and circuitry required to achieve a screen-equipped rotary dial. This may or may not be a sign of what's to come in the future for the company's wearables, so for now we'll have to just wait and hope for the best.