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Samsung's next smartphone to scroll by watching your eyes

Chalk up one more Galaxy trick that the iPhone can't perform

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Samsung's next Next Big Thing, the Galaxy S IV smartphone, will scroll text by watching your eyeballs.

So says an unidentified Samsung employee tattling to The New York Times' Bits blog, a worthy who "spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media" – a time-honored custom of companies that want to inject buzz-building rumors into the hype-o-sphere.

According to the anonymous source, the Galaxy S IV will track your eyes as they reach the bottom of a page of text, then scroll the next paragraphs into view so that your fingers need not do the walking.

The source did not say whether the feature would be demoed at the Galaxy S IV's coming out party, scheduled for March 14 in New York City, but one can assume that if it does exist, it will be – if only to trumpet a feature that's not available in Samsung's übercompetitor, Apple's iPhone, and Cupertino's most recent version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6.1.2.

Bolstering the believability of the personally publicity-shy Samsungonian are a pair of trademark filings, one in the US and one in the EU. The US trademark for "Samsung Eye Scroll" was filed on February 5 of this year, and describes "Computer application software having a feature of sensing eye movements and scrolling displays of mobile devices, namely, mobile phones, smart phones and tablet computers according to eye movements; digital cameras; mobile telephones; smart phones; tablet computers."

The EU trademark, filed this January 23 in the wonderfully named Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, is not as specific, merely describing "Eye Scroll" as being "Application software for smart phones and tablet computers; digital cameras; mobile telephones; smart phones; tablet computers."

Samsung's current flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III, already performs one trick that requires it to keep its beady cyclopean eye on you: Smart Stay lights up the handset's display when you're looking at it, and powers it down when you look away.

Smart Stay sounds as if it could be a convenient battery saver, but The Reg is not convinced that Eye Scroll would be much more than a page-popping distraction.

But if Eye Scroll does, indeed, prove to be both useful and popular, we can only assume that Apple will adopt some similar technology, and the lawsuits will inexorably churn on. And on. ®

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