A quite literal twist in the smartphone market could be introduced as early as next year, as Samsung has revealed a new smartphone with a bendable screen.
The South Korean tech giant is in the final stage of developing the phones, and the bendable screen allows users to fold up or roll their phones into their pockets as if they were dollar bills.
The breakthrough has been made by through the use of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), which are thin and can be put on flexible material such as plastic or metal foil.
Other companies including Japan’s Sony and South Korea’s LG Display have also launched prototypes boasting OLEDs.
Samsung is the first to promise a launch date for a phone boasting a bendable screen, with an unnamed source “familiar with the situation” telling the Wall Street Journal they will ship in the first half of 2013.
This may mean that this feature would be utilized on the upcoming version of Samsung’s S series, the S4.
“Flexible AMOLEDs can help Samsung differentiate its products in a smartphone market where most products offer similar products and functionality,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, director of mobile and emerging displays and technology at IHS Electronics and Media
Even if Samsung isn’t able to fully commercialize the bendable screen, making the screens out of plastic as opposed to glass will give them a competitive advantage and a chance to differentiate from other smartphones in a market crowded with very similar products.
Replacing the phones with plastic will also help alleviate the risk of cracking the screen.
It will be interesting to see which competitors will be able to rival Samsung’s innovation, or if Apple will even bother challenging the new technology.
James Gilbert | Elite.