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Unbreakable, Flexible Samsung Displays Tipped Next Year

Samsung is working hard to bring smartphones with flexible screens to the market. The screens will be made of plastic instead of glass and, as a result, will be flexible, unbreakable and lighter.

“A person familiar with the situation” revealed to the Wall Street Journal Samsung’s display division, Samsung Display Co., is currently in the last phase of development.

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The flexible displays will incorporate Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology, which is known for its incredible brightness, fast refresh rate and thin body. OLED technology can be integrated into various flexible materials, such as plastic or metal foil.

“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,” said Lee Seung-chul, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities.

Many companies have produced flexible OLED prototypes, but so far none of them have been able to mass produce the technology. Sony has spent the last decade researching flexible OLED displays and exhibited a 4.1 inch flexible OLED display just two years ago. Other companies who have experimented with flexible displays include Nokia and LG.

Samsung wants to be the first company to release the technology and has the money to invest in commercialising it. Its meteoric success in the smartphone market has seen the Company’s profits thrive, netting $6 billion dollars in the third quarter of 2012 alone, which is a 91% rise from last year.

The VP of Samsung’s display unit, Lee Chang-hoon, admitted a few customers are currently testing the displays, but could not speculate when products with flexible displays will be released.

LG and Sharp have taken a different direction by integrating touch sensors in LCD panels.

The method “removes a lot of layers out of the LCD manufacturing process and creates less components by integrating that touch panel into the LCD screen,” explained Josh Corin, LG’s Mobile Communication Marketing Manager, to SmartHouse.

Corin’s colleague, Brad Reed, elaborated: “What we’ve done in terms of the technology to both reduce the thickness of the display whilst keeping it very strong, but bringing a high level of tactile responsiveness.”

Currently Apple’s iPhone 5 and Google’s Nexus 4 feature LG’s new screens, which are both available on the market.

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