According to a new Korean report published today, display industry sources have revealed that Samsung and LG Electronics are planning to roll out new smartphones with 5-inch flexible displays as early as this September. The more interesting of the two designs may be the one that Samsung is currently working on.
Last year, both companies introduced the first generation of flexible displays for smartphones with both of them failing to connect with consumers.
Previously, Samsung showcased a flexible "Youm" display at last year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, as noted below.
The report now claims that Samsung has reportedly been working to develop smartphones with a three-sided flexible display by upgrading the Youm display. A prototype of the new model received a lot of attention at Samsung's Analyst Day last year. The firm also filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a three-sided display.
Our other IP site Patently Mobile, formerly Patent Bolt, covered this patent application in detail last year with just a few of the patent figures presented below.
The new model has a wraparound screen that displays a battery charging status, lock mode, and alarm messages on the side of the device. The industry anticipates that the new flexible version will receive a warmer response from the market than the Galaxy Round, since it can show more information to users.
In addition, the Korean report states that "Samsung is said to be intensifying efforts to develop foldable smartphones with two functions. When folded, the device functions as a smartphone, but becomes a tablet when unfolded. The company filed a patent for a foldable display with the USPTO as well."
One of the patents covering this folded model could be found on Patently Mobile, though there are a few Samsung patents on this next generation device, including this detailed report. The patent figure below is just one of many examples that you could find in our noted report.
While the Samsung smartphone display with an extra side edge may seem plausible for either this fall or early 2015 at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, their hybrid smartphone-tablet device is likely a few years out.
While their former design would be considered an interesting development, it's their latter design that could be a game changer if it comes to market within a reasonable time frame in a thin and light form factor. But in reality that's a tune is for another day as that particular design is currently stuck in patent limbo.
For now, we'll keep our eyes open for Samsung's next generation smartphones with a new flex display form factor, though it's highly unlikely to challenge Apple's upcoming iPhone 6 arriving in September. Then again, only time will tell.