Samsung to use flexible OLED screen on Galaxy Note 3?

April 22, 2013
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Samsung is getting closer to commercializing the first devices featuring a plastic-based (flexible) display. According to a report from the OLED Association, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be on show at the IFA 2013 Berlin show in September, and its plastic screen could be one of the phone’s most talked features.

According to OLEDA’s research, the screen of the Galaxy Note 3 will be made out of a thin plastic material that is not only shatterproof, but also lighter and thinner than current glass substrates.

The screen of the Note 3 is supposedly going to be similar to the Youm displays showed off at CES back in January. However, that doesn’t mean that the Note 3 will necessarily feature a curved screen like the prototypes we’ve seen so far. The screen is more likely to maintain a flat shape.

Whilst the screen of the Note 3 is said to be around half an inch larger than the Note 2, a plastic substrate would make it much thinner and lighter than its predecessor. According to a diagram by the OLEDA, a plastic-based screen would be half the weight of a glass-based OLED panel and an amazing less than a third the weight of a similarly sized conventional LCD display. Needless to say, moving to plastic would enable massive weight reductions, potentially enabling manufacturers to pack heavier batteries without making phones cumbersome to hold.

NOTE 3 article_FPD panel structure comparison

However, there’s a warning in the report that makes us wary. OLED A doubts that Samsung will be able to deliver full HD RGB resolution on plastic, and, even if it is, low yields are likely to limit the number of units that Samsung is going to be able to sell. The Note 3, while not as popular as the Galaxy S4, is likely to sell tens of million of units, making it crucial for Samsung to ensure a steady supply of displays. Therefore, it’s possible, says the report, that Samsung will only sell the plastic-based display version of the Note 3 in certain markets, offering versions with a conventional, glass-based display in most markets.

With about five months until IFA, Samsung still has time to iron out the kinks. All eyes will be on the Koreans to see if they can kick-start the next revolution in mobile displays.

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