Samsung roadmap points to phones with foldable displays in 2015

Device manufacturers are always keen to identify the next big thing that will convince consumers to hand over their cash. Wearable devices have become a major focus of this continuing effort, with the likes of Google Glass and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch attempting to find success in the market, but OEMs have also been looking at making existing form factors more appealing.

Manufacturers are now offering devices with curved screens, with handsets such as LG’s G Flex and the Samsung Galaxy Round, launching in recent weeks. But neither of these smartphones delivers on the vision of truly flexible devices, which have for so long remained a dream locked away in sci-fi movies and TV shows.

It looks like it could be a while before such devices get into the hands of consumers, as a Samsung development roadmap, first spotted by Sammy Hub, indicates that the company plans to have the first ‘foldable’ displays ready for prime time towards the end of 2015, or perhaps even early 2016.

Samsung has previously shown off prototypes of its flexible OLEDs, but these remain firmly in the development stages. As the Samsung roadmap indicates, there are still “technology barriers” that need to be broken down before these devices are ready for the mass market. The company has been working on this technology for some time; in 2011, it told investors that it would bring such devices to market in 2012.

For now, you’ll just have to be satisfied with handsets with a very slight curve to them – but if you really want a Samsung handset that you can fold down, you could buy one of these

Source: Sammy Hub via Engadget | Roadmap image via Sammy Hub

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flexible screens have been out for ages. Its the other components which they need to worry about. Battery, PCB and all that sort doesnt bend and if it does it will snap.

How would you know?

Blackberry were way ahead of apple with mobile phone tech on 8th January 2007. A day later they (and most of the industry) were years behind them.

According to Shacknews poster Kentor, employees at RIM and Microsoft were "utterly shocked" by the iPhone. RIM was allegedly "in denial" about the iPhone, claiming "it couldn't do what they were demonstrating without an insanely power hungry processor, it must have terrible battery life, etc" Kentor wrote.

"Imagine their surprise when they disassembled an iPhone for the first time and found that the phone was battery with a tiny logic board strapped to it,"

Plenty of materials under the category "smart materials". Such examples include piezoelectric materials and shape memory alloys.

The problem is not questioning whether a material exists that can be flexed over, the real problem is finding a suitable material which meets all the needs of existing phones and this new design feature too.

Unless phones and tablets merge, I fail to see how anyone would want a folding screen except for those really huge phones (6in +). People may want foldable tablets one day, but for phones, I just see it as a gimmick.

Those examples wouldn't produce something that can be flexed like that photo over and over. You would have to go with some kind of woven structure like a piece of cloth. It would still wear but it would last long enough not to matter.

Wow . To have this kind of phone you could have it taped onto your chest very SLIM and the cops wouldnt notice it when searching you upon locked into the cell.. It could get very empty in a cell!

I can understand this technology for something like a smartwatch, where the strap is a bendable LCD screen. That would look kinda cool.

Not sure why I'd want a flexible phone though? If I bent it in half and put it in my pocket, wouldn't the phone by it's very nature try to flatten out?