In this series, we remember the motives of the past that caught our attention out of the ordinary. After having told you about the Samsung Galaxy Round, LG G DoublePlay, Samsung Galaxy Beam, Sony Xperia Play and others, today it is the turn of the Samsung Continuum, pioneer of the second screen.

It was 2010, with Android phones still young and crazy, when Samsung was trying to boost mobile productivity with a second AMOLED display that, oddly enough, was integrated under the navigation buttons.

Samsung Continuum technical specifications

Samsung Continuum

Filter

AMOLED 3.4 “
480×800

Secondary: 1.8 “
480×96

Dimensions and weight

125x58x12mm.
4 oz.

Processor

Humming-bird

RAM

336 MB

Storage room

2 GB
Micro SD

Front camera

No

Rear camera

5 MP

Drums

1,500 mAh

Operating system

Android 2.1

Connectivity

3G
Wi-Fi b / g / n
Bluetooth 3.0
MicroUSB 2.0

Others

Sensors in the secondary display

Starting price

200 dollars

The above specs aren’t very impressive today, although we have to remember that they are from ten years ago. The Samsung Continuum, while not including it in its name, was therefore a variant of the Samsung Galaxy S. As far as specs go, it wasn’t too short.

The Samsung Continuum had specifications typical of its day, with the powerful 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, but with little RAM.

For example, the 1 GHz Hummingbird processor is the same as the one fitted in the Samsung Galaxy S and the Samsung Google Nexus S, although with less RAM: only 336 MB. A fair sum even for the time, especially for a mobile that seeks to increase productivity.

As expected for the mobiles of the time, the Samsung Continuum was a small and plump, with a main screen of 3.4 inches with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, with four capacitive buttons – including the search one – and its functionality. more characteristic, a second screen of 1.8 inches just below.

All this without mounting a front camera and with a 5 megapixel rear camera for photography. The terminal included 2 GB of storage to be split between data and the system, expandable by means of a MicroSD card.

The Samsung Continuum was a solid mobile, with a thickness of 12 mm

As for the battery, the Samsung Continuum fitted a removable 1,500 mAh battery, which was the norm for the time. All this, with 3G connectivity and pre-installed Android 2.1, which will later be updated to Android 2.2.

What was its particularity?

The Samsung Continuum is the first mobile with a secondary screen

At first glance, the Samsung Continuum looks like another mobile launched in the early days of Android: pill-shaped, chubby and huge bezels, but its special feature is its secondary screen, dubbed the Ticker.

This screen, even if it was located in a rather particular place – between the buttons and the logo – made it possible to read notifications and information such as news, weather, updates on social networks, emails or SMS. All this without having to change application.

The introduced Samsung Continuum had a second screen to improve multitasking of an Android still in its infancy

That is, the idea behind Ticker is that, for example, you can learn about sports scores while writing an email, without switching between apps. Nowadays, for example, it would be possible to use the split screen or a PIP function, but the Android then was much cruder. The Samsung Continuum offered hardware to overcome the software deficiencies of the time.

The idea was that this secondary screen would save you battery power, if you turned it on for news instead of turning on the primary screen. The problem is that the sensor to activate the screen was not working very well and Samsung never opened APIs for developers to use in their apps, so its use was very limited.

Is there such a thing today?

The Samsung Continuum is one of those crazy concept terminals that were so abundant in the early days of Android and that didn’t have much of an impact. There was no second part and Samsung more or less forgot the idea of ​​the second screen for a season, but not forever.

While not technically a second display, the spiritual heir to the internal Samsung Continuum is likely the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, which used the curve on one of its sides to display information. We are already talking about 2014 and a terminal with 3 GB of RAM, instead of 336 MB.

In a way, the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is the spiritual heir to the Galaxy Continuum

However, if we are talking about second physical screens, it would be another South Korean manufacturer who would take up the idea, LG. The LG V10 had already repeated the game in 2016, with a small 2.1-inch screen which this time was included in the upper part. Probably a more meaningful place, because this way you don’t have your hand in front of you when using the buttons on your mobile.

Six years later, the idea was basically the same: to have shortcuts always at hand, in addition to displaying information and notifications. The next generation, the LG V20, was back to bet on the upper secondary display, even if it would be its last chance. The LG V30 has already done without.

Six years later, LG was doing more or less the same thing, but with the secondary screen on top.

With the advancement of Android multitasking features, the need for an additional screen to display information is reduced. The software and processing power is already sufficient to be able to use several applications at the same time or to increase the multitasking capabilities through software and solutions such as split screen or floating screens.

The secondary screen has been resurrected in foldable mobiles and as a “gimmick” in some old screw terminals, such as the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

However, the idea of ​​the secondary screen has a second life in foldable mobiles, in this case more out of necessity. When folding the terminal, the main screen is hidden, so that a second screen is integrated to continue accessing information. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a good example of a secondary display in the style of the Samsung Continuum, but modernized. It is also used to display information and thus avoid having to open the mobile and turn on the main screen.

Xiaomi resurrected the secondary screen, putting it behind

Another way we see secondary screens reborn is a gadget so that you can take selfies with the main camera, as is the case with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, as well as to justify the surname “Ultra. “. For now, there are still quite a few terminals that rely on the second screen, but it seems that the idea still makes sense, in its own way, ten years later.