Samsung Working To Release Unbreakable Flexible Displays Made Of Glass-Replacing Plastic

By Alexandra Burlacu | Nov 17, 2012 01:10 PM EST

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Samsung is getting ready to release a line of flexible displays for mobile devices in the first half of 2013, according to a new report.

Samsung has long teased techies and consumers with its cool futuristic videos that show all sorts of exciting gadgets, including wearable wrist computers, location-finding smartphones, auto dashboard display screens, and wall-mounted computer screens made of plastic instead of glass.

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A Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report citing "a person familiar with the situation" claims that Samsung "plans to produce flexible mobile-device screens" in the first half of next year.

"South Korean conglomerate Samsung is pushing ahead with plans to start mass production of displays using plastic rather than glass, a move that will make mobile devices unbreakable, lighter and bendable," the WSJ reported.

According to the WSJ's source, who spoke under condition of anonymity, Samsung's display unit - Samsung Display Co. - is in the last phase of development of these so-called flexible displays for mobile devices.

The report further details that Samsung's flexible displays will incorporate OLEDs. As smart-device makers rivaling Samsung with their designs and feature sets scramble for market share, analysts believe that moving into mass production would give Samsung a real business advantage.

Customers would favor bendable plastic rather than conventional glass for a number of reasons, including lightness and durability. For Samsung, meanwhile, the technology could help lower manufacturing costs, while also differentiating the company's products from rivals, said an analyst at Shinyoung Securities, according to the report.

Expectations that Samsung would make the 2012 timeframe with flexible displays for television were recently shattered by various reports of issues preventing the release of the 55-inch OLED TVs. The original plan was to sell the gadgets in time for the London Olympics.

Samsung is widely seen as one of the leaders in OLED display research, and the leader in (Active Matrix) AMOLED, where each pixel has a transistor next to it, thus allowing for faster response time. OLED displays are not only thinner and more efficient than LCD or Plasma displays, but they also offer better picture quality.

When it comes to smartphones, back in March analysts were raving about how Samsung was looking at its plastic-backed AMOLED devices to make ultra-thin, lightweight phones with foldable displays. Analysts expected Samsung to apply plastic substrate-based, bendable or curved displays to smartphones, with the first products sporting a design where the display can be folded over the edges of a phone so that it continues to the sides. Such a display would reportedly be unbreakable.

According to Samsung, 50 percent of cell phones might sport AMOLED displays by 2014, and AMOLED could become the main TV panel technology by 2015.

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