Samsung to Replace Bezels in Smartphones with Edge Displays

March 4, 2012
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samsung-flexible-amoled

We’ve recently talked about Samsung’s fascinating plans to incorporate flexible and bendable displays into its products, and noted that the first devices to be equipped with flexible panels will come later this year.

Now, a Forbes report confirms the Q2 2012 timeframe that previous sources have suggested, but also offers us a tantalizing glimpse of how exactly Samsung is going to implement its ground-breaking plastic-based AMOLED technology into actual products.

Edge Displays Coming Soon?

Although the rumored foldable screens are definitely coming to Samsung devices, Nomura Research analyst Richard Windsor says that we shouldn’t expect them sooner than 2013. Nevertheless, this year, we can hope to see another amazing development from the South Korean mammoth tech company – bezel-less smartphones with displays on their sides. Although the idea seems crazy, a mockup image provided by Nomura shows us that the concept can look very appealing.

Samsung Flexible Displays Folded Edge Forbes

According to the Nomura report cited by Forbes, future Samsung smartphones will not have the bezel or screen border that is present on most current models, and instead the display will fold over the edge of the screen. As you can see from the mockup, the “edge display” might be used for listing icons, but we can imagine many other potential uses for it, including a notification area or an unlock mechanism.

Flexible displays replace the conventional glass substrate with a polyamide, which gives the display the capability to bend. To get an idea about the flexibility of Samsung’s displays, the panels that the Koreans revealed so far can be easily bended around a 2cm (about 0.8 inch) diameter cylinder.

Smaller Weight, Improved Resilience

Nomura’s analyst claims that the flexible panels will improve more than just the appearance of Samsung’s upcoming devices. As we noted in our recent piece on flexible displays, plastic-based substrates are much more resilient than glass, making the screens virtually unbreakable. Another advantage of equipping gadgets with this next-gen technology is the “exceptionally slim form-factor” that can be achieved.

Windsor predicts that the flexible displays will be more popular than the AMOLED display found on Samsung’s hit device Galaxy S2. Moreover, thanks to the incorporation of flexible panels, Samsung’s upcoming tablets will be up to 30% lighter than current models that are equipped with glass-substrate screens.

samsung flexible oled Erich Strasser/Flickr

As a conclusion, Nomura’s Richard Windsor believes that the flexible display technology will “clearly differentiate Samsung’s products from others” in terms of design, thickness, and weight.

But it’s not only Samsung that is interested in flexible displays. Apple too is rumored to be in talks with Samsung for getting flexible AMOLED displays for future iPad models. For now, nothing is certain, because Apple demands improved resolutions and bigger production capacities. According to Oled-Display.net, with its current production facilities working at full capacity, Samsung would be able to deliver 54 million panels per year, which is a little over half the demand that Apple preconizes for the iPad this year.

What’s to Come?

Flexible AMOLED display technology is definitely one of the most exciting developments in mobile technology to come in years. We hope that manufacturers will take full advantage of it to produce devices that are not only prettier but also smarter and more resilient.

Let us know in your comments what you would like to see from manufacturers. Do you think flexible displays will catch?

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