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Samsung Galaxy Reader?

Several more patent filings have emerged showing Samsung's interest in a two-screen book-like device.  Could we be seeing a future Samsung Galaxy Reader?

The patent filings themselves list a wide range of uses for such a device, including "dual homepages, mode-switching capability, a pocket mode homepage screen, a gallery map, a task manager, a private broadcast, a clipboard, an electronic book, a video conference, a cooperative game, a calendar, a phone conversation, a camera...."

One of the patent applications, covering UI's based on swiping between screens, shows several such applications, whereby swiping from one screen to another scrolls a set of pictures or icons between the two screens as if they were one big screen. This looks like a nice way to scroll through pictures, app icons, or what have you.

But one of the patent applications covers even more innovative user interfaces, whereby one of the screens is held steady and the other is moved, so that the two screens swivel relative to each other, and at the same time the user touches or swipes on one of the screens.  This UI mechanism truly leverages the uniqueness of the dual screen.

In this patent, the only particular application that's mentioned significantly is e-book reading.  This UI method appears designed to provide book-like page-turning and the like, where the device usage more closely resembles a physical book than any other device to date.

Would such a device take off? Recent indications are that e-book devices are effectively displaying paper books even among non-early-adopters, including in older age markets.  The heavy involvement of Amazon and Barnes and Noble has sped up what seems to be a steady transition from paper books to e-books.

But many people indicate that they still like the "feel" of a real book. And let's face it - most of us prefer relaxing on the couch or in bed with a paperback than with a pad of paper.  So an e-book reader that mimics this feel more closely would appear to be a real winner.

The idea of two-screen devices certainly isn't new - other devices are already on the market.  But they're not catching on significantly.

But Samsung, with the strong success of their Galaxy line, including the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Player, might be uniquely poised to succeed with such a device.  Might these patents be showing us the soon-to-come Galaxy Reader?

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