Samsung to release flexible smartphone displays in 2012

For some reason, flexible smartphone devices and displays are the new black this week. Earlier in the week, Nokia showed off a prototype of such a product at its Nokia World conference. Now PCWorld.com reports that Samsung, in its financial conference call to investors on Friday, said that the company would be releasing smartphones with flexible screens in 2012. Samsung showed off its own prototypes of the technology at CES 2011.

The idea of having a smartphone screen that could be manipulated physically by the user may not be a new idea but it certainly seems to have caught on, at least in the research lab and as a way to impress the press at media events and trade show. Unfortunately, what works as a prototype sometimes doesn't work in a retail product.

One problem with such a display is that it may not be as bright as regular smartphone touch devices. Another problem is incorporating features that use the technology. Nokia showed that its prototype screen could be used to scroll through a smartphone's song or picture collection but let's be honest; is that more effective than just touching the screen in order to do the exact same thing?

Perhaps a flexible screen could be created to be rolled up or folded in order to save space and then rolled back up to serve as a bigger screen for a notebook PC. But, we would need to see how Samsung uses it in a smartphone in order to be convinced it's more than just a flash in the pan.

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