November 15, 2012
More Evidence Of A Flexible Display From Samsung
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
According to a Wall Street Journal report, Samsung is ready to make the shift from glass to plastic displays on their smartphones and tablets and begin making flexible devices as early as mid-2013.
Though a Person Familiar with the Matter has told the Journal that Samsung is ready to push forward with these displays, the company has yet to say when these twistable, turnable devices will be commercially available.
This isn´t the first time we´ve heard about these sorts of malleable displays from Samsung, of course. The South Korean company showed off gadgets with S-shaped curves at 2011 CES in Las Vegas. They also acquired a company, Liquavista, in 2011 which specializes in this sort of bendable, foldable, assumedly portable devices.
Earlier this year, Samsung also merged together their Samsung Mobile Display group and their light-emitting diode team into one group called Samsung Display. With the technology in place and this new group formed, the Journal suggests Samsung is primed and ready to begin releasing gadgets with plastic, flexible displays. This move is said to help differentiate Samsung from their competitors, such as Apple, who has taken them to court all over the world for infringing on their design patents.
The Journal also says Samsung will continue to use OLED technology in these new displays, the same kind of screen used in some of their smartphones and televisions. These OLED screens are said to be best suited for flexible displays, as they´re able to be placed on very thin material, such as plastic or even metal foil. Since the display can be placed on such thin surfaces, these displays can be bent and flexed and still shine brightly.
It´s not just Samsung that has been working to perfect this kind of technology. Competitors such as LG and Sony have been showing off flexible prototypes for years. While these companies have been able to show off proofs on concept, they´ve yet to make these displays commercially available. Apple has also been rumored to have been working on flexible displays. Most recently, the company filed a patent for a Multi-Touch flexible display to be embedded in their SmartCover for the iPad.
This display is said to work and bend just like today´s SmartCovers, but will also be able to work as a display, giving iPad users an extra row of icons or even extra real-estate with which to receive notifications on.
Apple is even said to have filed for a patent for a flexible screen which is capable of morphing itself into a keyboard or even a speaker, depending on what application is running.
The competition between Apple and Samsung is likely a driving factor in Samsung´s alleged decision to move towards flexible displays. As noted by the Journal, Samsung´s display-making competitors, such as LG and Sharp, are busy making a new, cutting-edge display for Apple´s iPhone 5. This in-cell technology integrates the touch sensors of the display into the LCD, eliminating the need for a separate layer of glass.
"The key reason for Samsung to use plastic rather than conventional glass is to produce displays that aren't breakable. The technology could also help lower manufacturing costs and help differentiate its products from other rivals," explained analyst Lee Seung-chul with Shinyoung Securities.