Report: Samsung smartphone with wrap-around display coming in 2014

by: Andrew GrushNovember 14, 2013


For years now we’ve been hearing about flexible displays and how they will eventually revolutionize the mobile world as we know it. After a long wait, we are now even starting to see the very first commercial devices with flexible display technology: the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex.

Let’s be honest here, neither of these devices are exactly what we’ve been dreaming of. Sure, they look cool, but that’s arguably where the advantages end. Wondering when we will finally see a commercial device with a flexible display that’s a bit more advanced? According to a new report from Bloomberg, you won’t have to wait long.

The new Samsung device will do a lot more than just provide a unique look.

Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg claims that Samsung’s next flexible smartphone will be released sometime in 2014. The new handset will feature a design that is capable of wrapping around the smartphone’s sides.

The new Samsung device will do a lot more than just provide a unique look. All three sides of the display will be able to operate independently, meaning that notifications and other tasks can be accomplished simply by touching the sides of your phone.

If that sounds familiar it’s because Samsung actually has already shown a prototype with a similar design in the past. Of course, the earlier YOUM prototype had bent edges as opposed to a full wrap-around approach.

From the sounds of it, Samsung’s next-gen flexible smartphone will have a design that’s a bit more similar to Japanese-based SEL prototype displays. The video below gives you a better idea of what exactly SEL’s design looks like, though it’s important to note that this isn’t same type of technology that Samsung is using for their display tech — even if the end result is similar:

What to expect from Samsung’s wrap-around handset

Samsung’s sources reveal little else about the upcoming wrap-around smartphone, but the good news is that the USPTO is able to help us fill in a few more blanks. In what is nothing short than perfect timing, a new Samsung patent has been published today that lends further credence to the idea of a Samsung phone with a wrap-around display.

The patent application is called “Method and apparatus for operating functions of portable terminal having bended display”, and basically describes a wrap-around handset that packs quite a few special features.

The USPTO filing also included a handful of concept pictures that detail some of the potential features for Samsung’s unique smartphone:

As you can see, some of the functions include displaying battery life on one side of the display, a method for easy scrolling, creating a unique way to unlock your handset and so much more.

Samsung’s concept design is pretty cool, to say the least. Of course it’s important to note that Samsung has yet to confirm their plans, and even if the Bloomberg report and USPTO filing are pretty compelling, we’d take the whole rumor with a grain of salt — at least for now.

What do you think, would you be interested in such a wrap-around handset or do you feel that this is still more of a gimmick than something truly revolutionary?

  • MasterMuffin

    I just want a phone with a flexible display that doesn’t have the breaking glass on top of it. It doesn’t feel as good (like back in the resistive display days), but you saw what happened to the poor Nexus 5 in the drop test!

    • Shark Bait

      I agree, this has to be the best use for it. I have no will to bend my phone and i dont think i ever will.
      One the plus side they can have some tiny bezels though!



  • Richard

    Why would you reference the SEL prototype but not Samsung’s own prototype.

    • Andrew Grush

      You’re right, I should have more directly mentioned it. The reason I included SEL’s design is that it has a design that fully wraps around the entire side and is bezel-less, similar to what we are seeing the Samsung patent photos.

      In contrast, the older YOUM prototype had more of a bent design. I have edited the post though to more clearly mention the YOUM prototype, though. Thanks! :)

  • guest

    Samsung already had prototypes of wrap around displays before but you decided to show SEL’s? Why?

    • Andrew Grush

      Yes, I realize that Samsung has had a prototype with bent edges. I have edited the post to more clearly mention this. As for why I referenced SEL’s design — it’s because SEL’s full wrap-around approach seems more similar to what Samsung’s patent images are showing off. Good point once again, and thanks!

  • Mystery Man

    Lg round and galaxy flex are not flexible displays. They are curved in a fixed position…..

    • RanRu
    • Brian Shieh

      LG G-flex is flexible (to a degree of course) so sitting on it won’t necessarily destroy it

    • Gator352

      You using an Apple Note 3 or a Nokia ONE to post this?….
      Just asking….

  • Jake

    I doubt this patent will be approved in current form. The USPTO shall and will demand so many amendments that it’s rendered useless in the end.
    But it doesn’t matter. Samsung is incapable of creating something original on their own anyway.
    They need something/someone to copy from.

    Just look at Galaxy Gear. What a mess!

    • Brian Shieh

      ahem…the S1 being on 2.3 is pretty good for its update life. There are plenty of other OEMs that don’t ever give updates

      • Jake

        The smartest among fools is still a fool.

        The Nexus S released just a few months later than the Galaxy S, got updated til 4.1.x.

        And iPhone4 will be updated til late 2014.

        True, neither of them is an OEM, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are products that get much better support.

        • Brian Shieh

          I think the Nexus S got 4.1 because it is under the name of Nexus, which should be guaranteed several updates. And on the iPhone 4, iOS 7 has crippled it, and you probably shouldn’t see more 7.0.x updates from it soon as it is pretty much EOL.

          • Jake

            Today I’m returning my over three years old iPhone4 and get USD180 off from a new purchase. (It doesn’t matter which one I choose)
            And how much for the Galaxy series?
            S1 : 15
            S2 : 80
            S3 : 150

            The Galaxy branded products the carrier is willing to buy in for more than the iPhone4 are S4, Note2, and Note3.

            iOS7 being crippled on iPhone4 isn’t true.
            It’s just like the time when Windows XP arrived : turn down some fancy effects, and your aged pc was just fine running XP.

            What matters much more is the level of fragmentation. App developers can target iOS6 or above without worrying about losing potential customers which means built-in 64-bit on 5s or above.

            If you were an Android app developer, would you target ICS or above where almost half of the users are stuck with Gingerbread or earlier? I wouldn’t and actually don’t.

            If you think fragmentation isn’t a big deal, think again with this in mind : ARM dosen’t support interworking between 32-bit and 64-bit. ==> changing mode is extremely slow ==> A single 32-bit app running in the background on 64-bit Android will cripple the phone.

            On 5s, it’s hardly noticeable due to the different nature of multitasking. But on Android, where every task claims its own share of processing power, it will drain the battery like crazy in addition to being laggy.

            64-bit phone with 32-bit Android : a joke
            64-bit Android with 32-bit apps : a disaster

            If you don’t believe me, run a 32-bit game on a 5s, receive an SMS or push notification. That’s the kind of lag you gonna see on 64-bit Android running a 32-bit app the WHOLE TIME.

            Google better abandon Android and focus on Chrome-OS for 64-bit – or remove all the NDK-based 32-bit apps from the store.

            Either way, a very steep price for being lazy dealing with the fragmentation.

      • Jake

        Why bother with OEMs when the differences are so huge?

        Google should stop lying about “alliance” and kick all the OEMs.

        Nexus only policy will benefit both Google and customers since designing/maintaining the SW gets streamlined, and the third party apps can be more polished.

  • cycad007

    Great…so how does one protect the phone now?! Yes, flexible screens are less prone to breakage..but is it better than a case?

  • Nelson Sanchez

    Where would you hold this pone?

  • Gator352

    This is actually enticing. Different. And pretty cool IMHO! I’m sure Apple has a patent that they patented in 2005 stating this exact bent screen implementation on a smartphone so the suing will begin soon….as usual.

  • dca787

    Apple gonna copy this, better patent it Samsung

  • and_doc

    He would have to put a big curve iPhone picture on a Samsung article if he actually can find one like those created by iSheep (to please themselve) LOL
    PLease check with Android doctor to see if you’re starting turn into one of those iZombies ;)

  • APai

    umm, so no more phone cases ? :)

    I think this is slightly impractical for me, I’m still old fashioned to prefer a thin bezel instead of a wrap around. but, kudos to samsung for trying out all options when the going is good, rather than milk a couple of popular models to death (like some of the erstwhile companies – microsoft/ nokia/ etc etc old dinosaurs)

  • GaryW

    For the same phone size, I would much prefer bigger flat screen than the smaller flat screen with bended edges.

  • TechLover

    This shape will make a protective case impossible