Flexible Smartphones From Samsung On The Way In 2013

By Khurram Aziz | Nov 23, 2012 12:42 PM EST

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Samsung will have flexible touchscreens on the market in 2013 according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

The news site reports that the tech giant reportedly has the flexible screens in the final stage of development and will be ready to ship them next year.

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People "familiar with the situation" told the Wall Street Journal that the company is sampling the displays with "a few customers" and is "in the last phase of development" ready to be shipped in the first half of 2013.

The flexible screens are supposed to be the most innovative development in smartphone technology currently in development using breakthrough organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs).

OLEDs are so thin that they can be put on flexible material such as plastic or metal foil rather than the glass used on traditional display panels.

Other companies, such as LG and Sony have also invested in OLEDs. However, the smartphone company, which sold more handsets than any other in 2012, is the first to bring a flexible display device to market.

Some suspect the next generation Galaxy, the S4, will be the first to feature the technology.

The vice president of Samsung's display unit, Lee Chang-hoon, said, "The key reason for Samsung to use plastic rather than conventional glass is to produce displays that aren't breakable. The technology could also help lower manufacturing costs and help differentiate its products from other rivals."

Samsung is currently involved in patent infringement suits against LG over OLEDs in Korea, with LG complaining that its South Korean rival has infringed seven patents related to the technology. Samsung has since filed a countersuit hoping to invalidate LGs patents.

Earlier this year, Apple, which is both a rival to Samsung in the smarpthone field and also its biggest customer for memory chips and display panels, filed a patent for an electronic device with a flexible display.

The patent was published in September and shows a device which allows a speaker or microphone to be placed under the screen as well as a keyboard which could be modified to handle the concave or convex display.

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