Samsung Patent Reveals New Android Interface With Icon Stacks, 'Accordion' Folders

A Samsung patent, filed last year but only made publicly available recently, suggests the company is looking to refresh the user interface for its Android smartphones, with the focus on new ways to group icons together and sort through them, beyond the traditional folder option.

This image, retrieved by Patent Bolt, show the various design avenues Samsung could pursue. The most straightforward involves turning folders into a kind of drop down menu, where the user would scroll up and down to locate a particular app.

A different possibility shows the icons folding out in a manner described by Patent Bolt as "accordion"-like, but it reminds me of one of those joke wallets from a 90s live-action comedy, filled with a hundred photos of kids and relatives. For some reason, I'm not a fan.

Yet another idea dispenses with the container metaphor entirely, opting instead to stack app icons and showing them from an isometric perspective. The stacked icons could then explode out when clicked on, or appear in a separate, smaller window -- a more familiar approach.

What do you think? I reckon smartphones have nailed the icon/folder interface. It's about time companies started to innovate in this area again, regardless of what legal pressures might be forcing their hand.

[Patent Bolt]

Images: Patent Bolt



    It's sad patents are such a problem, and that Samsung feels the needs to keep differentiating itself in strange ways, because the most logical way to create app folders and still see their contents is on iOS and Android ICS. They are both already great methods. Perhaps Samsung should devote itself more to hardware and leave the OS stuff to Google. Or perhaps I just hate skins. Particularly Touchwiz.

    "I reckon smartphones have nailed the icon/folder interface. It’s about time companies started to innovate in this area again"

    Huh? In one sentence you say they've nailed it already, and in the next you say that it needs improvement.

      The bog standard "icons in a folder" concept has been well-explored via desktops and mobile devices. It's good that different ideas around "putting one thing in another thing" are being explored. That's the point I was making.

    Y'know what'd be a cool idea for a phone interface? Following on the idea that the SIII "watches" you to see if it should sleep, if they could take it to the next level so the phone could detect where you're looking on the screen and activate/update as appropriate. Tie that in with nice depth of field effects depending on where you're looking and you'd have a great interface - at least until you put your sunglasses on and it crashed horribly...

      I love that idea. It's unrealistic for at least another few years, but it's definitely something to aim towards.

      Excuse my ignorance and lack of knowledge here, but if I am not mistaken, is this not what Samsung have currently done with their latest TV?

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