South Korean technology giant Samsung will release the world's first flexible smartphones in 2013, BBC reports. However, Samsung has yet to officially confirm if the new technology would be on the next Galaxy S or Galaxy Note smartphone or if it will roll out a new line of Galaxy Flexible smartphones.
Flexibility allows the user to bend and possibly twist the device. It can also prevent breakage if the mobile phone is accidentally pinned by sitting down or crushed by objects with similar force.
Samsung said the phone will be foldable, rollable, wearable and will allow a high degree of durability through their use of plastic substrate that is thinner, lighter, and more flexible than conventional LCD technology.
Besides Samsung, other mobile hardware companies such as Sony, Nokia, LG, and Phillips are also working on flexible smartphones.
Nokia is currently researching for flexibility to its smartphones. Nokia calls the research the Morph Concept which may use Nanotechnology that enables materials and components that are flexible, stretchable, transparent and remarkably strong. The principle is likely similar to the spider silk which with its elasticity enables the device to literally change shape and configure itself to adapt to the task at hand. The Morph Concept focuses on many features from Nanotechnology such as Self-Cleaning which has Nanoflowers, repelling water, dirt and fingerprints; Advanced Power Sources which utilizes the solar power by using Nanograss and Nanosensors that would empower users to examine the environment from analysing air pollution and biochemical traces.
Plastic Logic and LG
Flexible e-ink is now being produced by the two companies as part of the flexible smartphone development. E-Ink is a kind of display that reflects ambient light from the surface of the display back to the eyes. It has longer battery life compared to OLED and LCD but mainly black and white. To give colour, a filter with red, green and blue tints would be place on top of the original display. However, the brightness of E-Ink colour with filter tints aren't as bright as OLED or LCD.
Plastic Logic and LG might use E-ink for flexible smartphones. In May 2012, Plastic Logic demonstrated a paper-like flexible screen with video on play, while LG has began its mass production of E-Ink displays.
Sony and Philips are not going to be left behind because both companies have already released some of their rolling screens prototypes. Sony has develops a rollable OLED screen while Philips has unveiled as early as 2006 a rollable display whose screen can retain an image for several months without electricity.
One way or the other, at least one of these tech companies will commercially release a flexible smartphone in 2013. Samsung is currently racing for two technological research, the Octo-core processors and the flexible screens. Nokia has its own morph concept using Nanotech while Sony, LG, and Philips have their rolling screens ready for some real action.