For those who find the iPhone’s frame too rigid or who dream of rolling their Droid up like a sleeping bag, Samsung may have a solution for you.
The BBC has reported that the South Korean technology manufacturer is well ahead of competing companies such as Nokia, LG, Sony and Phillips in the race to release the world’s first flexible smartphone.
Said to be “razor thin, paper-like and bendable,” prototypes of the mobile have already been revealed at gadget shows and have amassed much media attention.
Flexible screens "have been the holy grail for a while, but you'll also need flexible batteries, circuit boards, and chips," Carl Howe, research vice president at the Yankee Group, told TechNewsWorld. "It's a tough job."
Toughness aside, Samsung seems to have nailed down a working game plan. The screen, ever susceptible to the hazards of strong thumb pressure and forgotten back-pocket placement, will be AMOLED-enhanced to make it "foldable, rollable, wearable and more, [and] will allow for a high degree of durability through their use of a plastic substrate that is thinner, lighter and more flexible than… conventional LCD technology," a Samsung spokesperson told the BBC.
The idea is anything but original: in mid-September, LG received a US patent for an interface invention that allows the user to flex and fold the touchscreen with the screen changing to suit the movement, and Apple filed a patent for “electronic devices with flexible displays” later that month. The rumour that Samsung will release its version of a bendy mobile has been circulating for a few years now, and it’s unclear what the repercussions of these patents will mean for the impending release.
Still, kudos is in order if Samsung does indeed set itself apart from the tech pack and introduce the world’s first foldable smartphone in the New Year.
“Flexible AMOLEDs can help Samsung differentiate its products in a smartphone market where most products offer similar products and functionality,” Vinita Jakhanwal, director of mobile and emerging displays and technology at IHS Electronics and Media, told TechNewsWorld.
The video below walks you through some of the device's fine points: