Top smartphone vendors are in a we-never-rest race to come out with tweaks and tantalizers to keep on course with formidable competition. And now, rumors are traveling quickly round the web, saying that Samsung may be planning a three-sided display device to bring to market.
According to talk outside of Samsung, the South Korean electronics superstar intends to come out with a three-sided display that will cover the front and two sides of a smartphone. Reportedly, each side of the display would operate independently. The buzz stems from a Bloomberg report by Jungah Lee in Seoul, who said that, "Samsung plans to release a Galaxy smartphone next year with a three-sided display that wraps around the edges so that messages can be read from an angle."
The sources of the information, Lee said, were "two people familiar with the plans." They asked not to be identified as the plans were not yet released. The sources did not discuss any release date for the new device, but smartphone watchers estimate that a wraparound screen phone might be ready for rollout by the end of 2014.
The smartphone user may have a phone with a display setup where the user could get incoming notification messages on the side displays, or receive song title information on the side displays, or any other extra content apart from the information on another display. Each side of the multi-sided screen would operate independently and could be viewed separately from the others.
What's more, according to the Bloomberg report, the three-sided display will be manufactured using an upgraded version of Samsung's Youm flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED) display technology.
Any launch of a device carrying an enhanced iteration of Youm in and of itself would be an attention-getter for Samsung. Youm turned heads in Las Vegas in January at the Consumer Electronics Show. Showcased then were prototypes and scenarios for Samsung's line of OLED displays. Called Youm, the flexible-display lineup bears the distinguishing feature of using thin plastic rather than glass, and the material renders the display bendable yet strong. Youm using OLED technology is designed to bring out better colors and contrast, with its extremely thin form factor.
"Our team was able to make a high resolution display on extremely thin plastic instead of glass, so it won't break even if it's dropped," said Brian Berkeley, senior vice president of Samsung Display, at the January event. Interestingly, Berkeley also featured a smartphone prototype with a curved edge that showed contiguous content along the side of the device.
To be sure, reports of any display innovation beyond curved-edge phones are sure to spark interest. Analysts' cautionary words about an approaching saturation point in high-end smartphone sales might mean that the star phone vendors will need to issue bright new ideas beyond going curvy around the edges. Samsung, with a multi-sided display, could stand out, yet again, as a dominant technology player.