The next Galaxy smartphone may come with a bendable display

Samsung is on track to launch its next flagship handset, the Galaxy S IV, in April 2013 and reportedly the device will come with a “breakthrough unbreakable screen”, as Reuters put it in today’s report. You’d be forgiven for dismissing this news nugget as a pipedream of sorts, but bear with me for a moment.

We’ve been hearing that Samsung’s been looking to incorporate flexible display into next-generation smartphones and tablets for over a year now. Plus, the South Korean conglomerate certainly has demonstrated its willingness to explore uncharted territories. At CES 2011, Samsung’s mobile displays arm showed off a cool 4.5-inch flexible AMOLED display prototype based on electro activity polymer, seen above…

Reuters has the story:

Samsung Electronics, the world’s leading technology company by revenue, is likely accelerating the launch of its next-generation flagship Galaxy smartphone – which may come with a breakthrough unbreakable screen.

Codenamed “Project J” after mobile division chief JK Shin, development of the new Galaxy S IV could be aimed for release by as early as April, according to analysts and tech blogs.

Reuters quotes Stanford Bernstein analyst Mark Newman who speculates that “either the Galaxy S IV or S V will have unbreakable and even possibly flexible and foldable displays by 2014″.

UBS analyst Nicolas Gaudois believes that Samsung’s “preparations for volume manufacturing of unbreakable plastic substrate displays continue”.

The report goes on to note that a foldable display could be the phone’s biggest selling point, much like AMOLED technology serves as Samsung’s hardware differentiator for the current Galaxy lineup.

The S IV is thought to incorporate a 13-megapixel camera (Apple, you reading this?) and a quad-core chip.

More importantly, it’s gonna have even bigger display with higher pixel density than both the S III and the iPhone 5. At 441 pixels per inch, we’re probably talking a five-inch full HD 1080p screen here.

That’s “a big improvement from the Galaxy S III’s 306 ppi and better than the iPhone 5’s 326 ppi”, the news gathering organization writes. Some phone vendors have already adopted 1080p screens on high-end devices, like HTC.

Unfortunately, we have no idea whether or not Apple is working on a 1080p iPhone. Full HD, or 1080p, resolution maxes out at 1,920-by-1,080 pixels.

If it means anything, DisplayMate’s Raymond Soneira thinks the 1080p smartphone display is primarily a marketing pitch rather than an experiential improvement.

Why’s that?

Because – and he knows these things inside out – the extra sharpness of a 1080p display is wasted as an average person “can’t resolve sharpness above 229 pixels per inch”.

Those with the perfect 20/20 vision might be able to notice a slight difference between a 720p and 1080p smartphone display, Soneira added.

I personally doubt such a display would make sense on a flagship device like the Galaxy S IV. Then again, people used to similarly diss so-called phablets until the Note started putting on solid numbers.

This way or another, I think Samsung’s gonna eventually do a phone featuring a flexible display, but I don’t think it’s gonna be a mainstream product.

To me, a flexible display on a smartphone doesn’t make much sense, but I could be entirely wrong. Here’s a nice Galaxy Skin concept depicting how a bendable display might look like on the Galaxy smartphone.


How about an iPhone with an unbreakable screen?