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Flexible Smartphones Could Be in Your Pocket Next Year

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Flexible phones could come out sometime in 2013, with Samsung leading the pack, according to a report from the BBC.

According to the report, many companies including Samsung, LG, Sharp, Phillips, Sony, and Nokia are close to mass producing flexible displays. Samsung’s OLED displays will likely emerge as the first flexible screens put into smartphones, however.

If Samsung can make flexible displays by next year as well as flexible components inside the smartphone it could mean the next big Galaxy phones from Samsung will use the technology. Samsung could potentially use flexible displays in its flagship Galaxy S IV next year. There are some rumors about the Samsung Galaxy S IV already, but none mention flexible displays and Samsung likely won’t announce the phone until at least mid-2013.

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Samsung could also potentially put flexible displays into the next iteration of the Galaxy Note, which will likely launch even further into 2013 than the Galaxy S IV.

While Samsung will likely have the first flexible screen with color, BBC also mentions a company called Plastic Logic which works with E-Ink. E-Ink is already more flexible than other display technology, but for a flexible smartphone to use it the manufacturer also need flexible components.

There are possibilities beyond just smartphones, however. Plastic Logic shows the BBC a number of accessories that use flexible E-Ink displays that connect to smartphones. One of the more interesting examples is a watch that uses a larger, curved E-Ink display to show information from a smartphone such as the current music track that’s playing.

Flexible displays are nothing new, as various companies have shown flexible prototype phones before. The technology is just about within reach, however, which is exciting for some users. Flexible smartphones need more than just flexible displays, however, every component including the battery need to bend.

Shawn is a tech junkie who spends most of his time reading and writing about it. You can follow him on Twitter, @shawn_i.

16 Comments

  1. AJ Villegas

    12/19/2012 at 9:22 am

    And why would someone want a flexible smartphone? I swear these people r just making dumb crap just to make it now. “Sure yah lemme get that rubber phone over there, the one that will bounce back up to eye level if u drop it”.

    • bob

      12/22/2012 at 11:47 am

      lol

    • jeff harrigan

      01/03/2013 at 11:48 pm

      Bend not break. People have had screens cracked from sitting on them since cell phones were invented. Have you no imagination where flexible would be an immense improvement?

    • Dan

      01/13/2013 at 9:39 am

      apple fanboy. samsung is crushing them.

      • JR

        01/25/2013 at 1:35 pm

        Apple posted nearly double the profit of Samsung this week, and also sold more iPhone 5′s over its first 3 months out than Samsung sold the GS3 over its first 3 months out. Sure Samsung has more total phone sales globally but that’s only because they sell 30 different phone models. Apple is still a much more profitable company, I’m not sure who is crushing whom.

        • Euph0ria

          02/22/2013 at 4:27 pm

          Apple has the stupidity market cornered. That’s how they make so much money. They’re crushing the morons who overpay for Apple products and then are tied into proprietary products, not having any choice but to keep over-paying Apple because they aren’t allowed the use of any third-party hardware or service. So Apple makes their money off people who buy Apple as a status symbol, or those ignorant enough to buy Apple because they think it’s cool. Actually in both cases, they’re all morons. Pay more to do less.

    • Robin

      02/03/2013 at 11:24 pm

      No imagination how this sort of technology could be applied, huh? Imagine your phone doesn’t break if you sit on it. Imagine a display that folds in a clamshell design like the Nintendo DS, except when opened up, it’s one big display instead of two smaller separate displays. Imagine a ‘laptop’ with roll-away keyboard and screen. Imagine displays that, like e-ink, only need power to change the image, and imagine them being made into decals, wallpaper, and even clothing.

      I expect that the first time a CRT was hooked up to an old mainframe as a refreshable, real-time display, someone like you opined ‘why bother?’, as paper printouts did the job, and had ‘better archival properties’.

  2. boga

    12/23/2012 at 10:30 am

    looooool

  3. Monsta

    01/09/2013 at 6:21 pm

    Im sorry i would rather crack my phones screen and buy a new one then buy a flexible phone wtf do you wana do with it bend it and then?

  4. عصام

    01/10/2013 at 5:42 pm

    It’s not just a neat little extra feature, imagine being able to wear your phone like a gauntlet and the things you could do with a bio-feedback mechanism. Imagine being able to computerize the surface of just about anything! Also, remembering that technology has a way of getting smaller and smaller, imagine smartphones (tiny computers, really) getting down to the size of a fingernail and being flexible and transparent. Sounds a lot like a contact lens to me! That might be a few years down the line, but with this, we have two out of the three characteristics (the flexible and the transparent) and the third is almost certain to come.

  5. IPHONE4EVER

    01/23/2013 at 6:45 pm

    I knew android was pretty LIMP compared to apple but now it’s really limp, bending phones who the hell wants that, even an iphone would be lame that way..

  6. lol

    02/01/2013 at 8:02 am

    Yeah but for this to work you have to have a bendable mobo and battery if you still want a decent sized device. Cool concept, though I’d rather see it applied to making “indestructible” screens.

  7. Matt

    02/01/2013 at 10:46 am

    Apple with smaller ipads bigger phones same design samsung with new innovations! :)

  8. stinje

    02/03/2013 at 6:33 pm

    Think about displays like the one in the movie Red planet.
    So cool!!!

  9. Euph0ria

    02/22/2013 at 7:14 pm

    You MUST be the proud owner of an IPhone or some other Apple product! I can’t imagine anyone else being so vacuous and narrow minded to have no imagination of insight for the MANY and exciting uses of this technology.

  10. Euph0ria

    02/22/2013 at 7:19 pm

    And I’ll repeat this because You ARE the proud owner of an IPhone! I can’t imagine anyone else being so vacuous and narrow minded to have no imagination of insight for the MANY and exciting uses of this technology. I suspect it’s the apple-fanboy coming out just to bash anything that’s not Apple as well.

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