In addition to the Galaxy S4, it appears Samsung will be giving consumers a few more surprises to be excited about in 2013.
As stated by unnamed sources close to Wall Street Journal, the Korean company is reportedly in the “final” phases of testing a phone product that combines flexible OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology with thin, bendable plastic substrates. The unique end-product, Samsung’s spokesperson explained, will be “foldable,” “rollable,” and “wearable,” and will have a high degree of durability in spite of its mass and thinness. News sources like BBC and WSJ have hinted that the product’s release period will be around the first half of 2013, although Samsung has yet to provide any specific dates at this point.
In addition to the Korean giant, the other big names currently associated with the bendable phone rumors include LG, Philips, Sharp, Sony, and Nokia. Sony and LG have been known to research flexible OLED technology for years, although, unlike Samsung, the two have never really announced plans to release an actual working phone that utilizes the technology. Nokia, notably, demonstrated its interest in the “flexible” phone feature back in 2008, when it partnered with Cambridge’s nanotechnology department to create “Morph,” a bendable prototype phone assuming the appearance of a rolled-up candy. Although the Finnish company’s “product”—once displayed at the Museum of Modern Art— was meant more as a gimmick than an actual workable device, the effort nonetheless strengthened the mobile industry’s growing interest in the idea and in furthering its potential in the retail arena.
There are some interesting benefits to the whole “bendable” phone concept: the phone’s plastic, flexible nature, for one, allows it to be more lightweight, portable, and less prone to physical damage. As stated by various sources, releasing a feature phone with such unique traits also allows companies to find creative ways to differentiate their products within the market, give consumers more diverse options to choose from, and foment further potential innovation within the smartphone industry.