Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an interesting Samsung granted patent that relates to a flexible display for a foldable TV and/or or tablet. What was interesting was Samsung stating that they could flex both OLED and LCD displays to my surprise. I was under the impression that only OLED displays were flexible. At the end of the day, Samsung is in search for their next killer display that could give them the edge over Apple's iPhone and/or iPad mobile devices.
Samsung Granted Patent: Flexible Display
Samsung was granted a patent today for their invention relating to a display device, and more particularly, to a display device having a flexible display panel.
In the configuration shown in Samsung's patent FIG. 2 above, the flexible display panel #10 is an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display panel having a pixel array including a plurality of OLEDs. The display device #100 may be embodied as a large-scale television but the described technology is not limited thereto.
According to Samsung, "Another embodiment of the display panel employs a liquid crystal display (LCD) technology. According to some embodiments, the flexible display panel is greater than 8 inches in size." This would be in the range of a Galaxy Tablet product.
In the configuration of patent FIG. 4, the printed circuit board #20 is formed at the outer side of the flexible display panel. However, in other embodiments, the printed circuit board is formed in an inner portion of the flexible display panel and the printed circuit board can be bent along with the flexible display panel.
Samsung's granted patent was originally filed in Q2 2014 and published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Samsung has a huge body of patents relating to flexible and foldable displays and you could view them in our Archives here.
While Samsung has a huge body of flexible and foldable patents on record, they've been very slow to bring them to market. Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone that includes a flexible display has gotten off to a rocky start in the market. Production problems hampered sales throughout the last quarter. Whether Samsung's S6 will eventually gain traction when production is up to speed remains to be seen.
Apple, on the other hand, has used a flexible display for the Apple Watch but have their eye on a few future applications. The sexiest design on record to date is a possible future iPhone as noted below. Other flexible display patents from Apple could be reviewed in our Archives here.
Samsung's one-time display advantage over the iPhone was with their large Phablet. That winning streak came to an abrupt end when Apple introduced their latest iPhone 6-Plus which has been a real killer design for Apple, even in South Korea, Samsung's home turf.
Samsung is currently in a race to find their next display advantage that they could use against their arch rival Apple in smartphones and/or tablets. Samsung was hoping that their curved edged Galaxy S6 would have given them the edge over the iPhone 6 that they needed, but to date that has failed to materialize.
Will a foldable tablet be a killer device over Apple's iPad? I highly doubt it – but that won't slow Samsung down in their continuing effort to find that next killer display. And from time to time Patently Apple will keep you up to date as to what Samsung is up to, just in case they find that killer application for a device with a flexible display.
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