Flexible and unbreakable smartphones: Just a new buzz word?

This Brave New World continues to impress us with the sophisticated solutions that help streamline the global innovation process. As the battle for dominance in the smartphone and tablet market becomes tougher, mobile device makers are now focusing on differentiating their products in order to increase profit margins and market share in the lucrative fast growing markets.

As a way to reach this goal, some are currently putting money and efforts into improving design and usability of mobile devices by making them lighter, unbreakable and bendable.

According to the recent Wall Street Journal’s article, South Korean giant Samsung has announced plans to kick off with mass production of innovative smartphone and tablet screens using bendable plastic rather than glass. The company’s Display Unit is already in the final phase of development of flexible displays which are expected to be released in H1 2013.

Neither the investment in the technology, nor the commercial availability of such mobile devices has been publicly announced yet. What is known, however, is that these displays will be called YOUM and be based on the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology that will basically replace both the glass substrate and encapsulation layers with flexible polymer sheets. Flexible OLEDs have been in the development phase for many years and prototyped by not only Samsung, but also Sony and LG. However, they were never put to the mass production due to technological barriers.

Samsung is looking forward to breaking these barriers and becoming the first company to introduce this innovation to the smartphone users. The company is in a rush because of competitors that are also going to introduce different innovative screen technologies for smartphones and tablets.

If everything goes according to the plan and Samsung is able to commercialize its new OLED-based display technology, flexible and unbreakable mobile devices are likely to appear on the mass market sooner than we think (probably within the next 3-5 years). Do you think it will be a really useful device or just a gimmick for show-off?

Source: Wall Street Journal, 2012


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26 Nov 2012, 11:20 a.m.

I think the best bodied phones are the Samsung S series with plastic bodies and they are harder to break. They are just like Nokia phones.