A lot of high-end smartphones these days are getting bigger to accommodate more content on screen. The problem is that these are becoming more and more uncomfortable, if not impossible, to use with only one hand. Samsung, whose top tier smartphones are slowly creeping up to that mark, might just have a solution.
A patent recently filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization or WIPO contains information and images that describe how Samsung thinks it can fix the situation. The whole concept revolves around a user’s comfort zone, which is the area contained within an arc that is easily reachable by the thumb when the device is held with one hand. In effect, the patent describes rearranging the layout, spacing, and items on the screen along that comfort zone, making it easier to hit things with just the thumb.
In practice, this could mean several things. For one, lists can be stacked on top of each other in a stepped pattern like stairs, ensuring that items higher in the list are still reachable. It also means that user interface components, like music or video player controls or even the keyboard, will be rotated along the axis of the arc. It’s not just the layout, however, that can be changed. Even the size of items, such as the icons in the app drawer, as well as their distance from one another, can be adjusted to make it easier to hit with something less precise than an index finger.
It may sound like a grand idea, but it still needs to be tested. Samsung definitely has the resources to pull it off, not to mention the audacity to make such a huge departure from standard Android conventions. One look at TouchWiz and we all know that the company isn’t afraid to break the rules. The question, then, becomes “when?”. Unless Samsung has an implementation already finished, it might not make it in time for the rumored Galaxy S 5 that is said to be scheduled to make an appearance early next year.