Feature Article

January 10, 2013

Flexible Display Phone by Samsung: Prototype Unveiled at CES 2013

Samsung, a company specializing in the manufacturing of semiconductor solutions and electronic products ranging from computers to appliances to smartphones, took a bold step at CES 2013. During its closing keynote address yesterday, Samsung gave the world a glimpse of its new prototype phone that has a flexible display.

The phones are still prototypes. Samsung is calling its flexible display technology, Youm. The bendable OLED uses thin plastic instead of glass, which makes it unbreakable. OLED is a type of light emitting diode (LED) that is made of thin films of organic molecules.

During the keynote address, Dr. Stephen Woo, president of System LSI Business, Device Solutions Division at Samsung Electronics, shared the company’s vision of “Mobilizing Possibility,” highlighting the role of components as the engine behind innovation. He said, “We believe the right component DNA drives the discovery of what’s possible. Components are building blocks—the foundations on which devices are built. We at Samsung’s component solutions are creating new, game-changing components across all aspects of devices.”

Behind the scenes, Samsung is making use of OLED to give the screens what it says are deeper blacks and a higher overall contrast ratio with better power efficiency than traditional LCD displays.

At the keynote address, the flexible screens were shown as a concept, more of a promise of what was to come from Samsung. They brought out a handful of demo units to display. One of the devices was a phone with a screen that wraps around the side edges. Samsung believes that this could be used to view information like text messages or tickertape type wording without the need to view the entire screen.

To show how flexible the displays are, some of the displays were shaped into question marks. Other models were twisted, wrapped around a wrist like a watch. The entire time, the image that was displayed was clear and completely viewable.

It appears that Samsung is trying to expand its alliances and reduce its reliance on the Google Android platform. The demo phones were demonstrated running Windows Phone 8. Along with a few other companies, Samsung also makes displays for Apple products.

Microsoft’s chief technology strategy officer, Eric Rutter, said that it was clear that displays did not need to be rigid. The prototype phone was being flexed and bent without any conspicuous color or image distortion.

At this time, Samsung is not providing any type of pricing information or a release date.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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