Samsung Plans Smartphone With Curved Screen - InformationWeek
Mobile // Mobile Devices
09:53 AM

Samsung Plans Smartphone With Curved Screen

Looking to innovate in the competitive smartphone market, Samsung will introduce a smartphone with a curved screen next month.

Samsung's New Gadgets: Visual Tour
Samsung's New Gadgets: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view)
Samsung on Wednesday tipped that a new kind of phone is on deck: one with a curved screen. The company has been working on various screen technologies and said that it will introduce a curved smartphone next month. The company didn't provide additional details about the device.

The news, which the company shared at an event held in Korea, speaks to how competitive the smartphone market has become. Smartphones have matured quickly in recent years. Though industry leaders, including Samsung, have continued to tweak features, none of the devices introduced this year has offered a big leap forward in technology or, for that matter, features. Samsung hopes a device with a curved screen will help set its devices further apart from the competition.

Curved screens are not new. They've been available on HDTVs for a while now. Television sets don't move around, though, and don't typically face the trials and tribulations that mobile devices do. Samsung has had trouble keeping moisture out of its curved AMOLED displays. Moisture is easy to keep from traditional LCD screens, but it's more difficult with AMOLED screens, and especially curved AMOLED screens.

[ Ever wonder how much it costs Apple to build an iPhone? Read $649 iPhone Costs Apple $199. ]

The big question here is what benefit does a curved smartphone screen offer? It's hard to argue that it will improve viewing angles. Smartphones don't typically need the 170-degree viewing angles touted by TV manufacturers. Certainly the curve has to be gentle; Samsung likely does not want to make a banana-shaped smartphone that won't fit in users' pockets. The Samsung Nexus S, which debuted a few years ago, had a barely curved piece of glass covering a flat AMOLED screen. There's an important distinction here, though: the Galaxy Nexus used a traditional panel; the AMOLED element itself was not curved. This new device will have a curved AMOLED panel under curved glass.

Some suggest that curved screens are a precursor to flexible screens. Flexible screens, when they arrive, will have a much bigger impact on the smartphone and wearable device markets.

Samsung is also working on flexible screens that are unbreakable. It first showed off flexible display panels at the Consumer Electronics Show several years ago. In fact, many expected the Galaxy Gear smartwatch to have a curved, flexible screen. Instead, it has a traditional flat-panel screen. Flexible screens, like those that can be wrapped around your wrist, will push forward devices such as smartwatches. The worth of flexible screens for smartphones will be more limited.

Make it unbreakable, though, and that's a different story. Despite the advancements from companies such as Corning and its Gorilla Glass, the screens on mobile devices remain fragile and often break when they're dropped. Give users a mobile phone with an unbreakable screen, and they'll instantly see the value.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
9/25/2013 | 5:41:37 PM
re: Samsung Plans Smartphone With Curved Screen
"The worth of flexible screens for smartphones will be more limited."
I disagree, Eric. Wouldn't it be nice to have a smartphone with a large screen that would fold and actually fit in your pocket?
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Success = Storage & Data Center Performance
Balancing legacy infrastructure with emerging technologies requires laying a solid foundation that delivers flexibility, scalability, and efficiency. Learn what the most pressing issues are, how to incorporate advances like software-defined storage, and strategies for streamlining the data center.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll