Samsung has filed a patent for projection technology that may reduce the need for carrying around large screens. It’s important to note that the patent doesn’t mean Samsung has any team actively working on the technology, however it is a step toward solving some significant issues for the mobile technology industry. The advent of the apple watch has demonstrated just how important consumers now consider simple functionality over novelty. The size of the watch’s screen has been much maligned as users struggle with tasks they could complete much more easily on their phone. Without a physical keyboard, and so relying on dictation for sending text messages for example, the Apple watch has many critics shrugging and asking exactly how having a smaller, less functional version of an iPhone on the wrist improves the lives of consumers.
Smart phones also, are not without their problems, the major manufacturers have been hesitant to innovate with design for fear of losing consumers that have become used to a large screen and the functionality this offers. Many smaller manufacturers have attempted drastically new designs, assuming the market would respond to perceived individualism in the same way it would during the days of Nokia’s changeable covers. However, as mentioned, simple functionality is winning the day and users are evidently less concerned with how their phone looks compared to what their phone does – and how easily. The screen bridges the gap between phone and tablet and this is a freedom users are unlikely to want to do without again. Even now it’s difficult to imagine not having the ability to receive emails, or download documents on the go.
Projection technology could be an opportunity for design revolution. The technology to interact with the projection, using it as a keyboard for example, already exists. This could mean additional functionality, combined with less requirement on bulky hardware. Part of Samsung’s patent, is a sketch of the headset designed to recognise various shapes around the house – a fridge, a television, a wall – and to utilise those spaces as areas to project images. While it’s difficult, if not impossible to imagine us walking around with headsets on, it’s far less of a stretch to imagine a small device we can place on our desk, on the floor or against a wall that will project a computer screen, a keyboard, all our available movies and music, or the image of someone we’re calling.
Samsung undoubtedly sees opportunity outside of physical hardware, and as mobile technology continues to physically grow in line with our requirements, it’s surely just a matter of time until our needs outgrow our pockets.