Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Flexibility in design: Will Samsung be flexible during 2013? And if phones screens do get softer, will it be just a curiosity?

We've been seeing flexible display components for many years now. Will 2013 be the year they finally get used in some truly innovative ways? Fingers crossed.

When it comes to device form factors, the smartphone business is a snoozer. More than 90% of devices on the market look essentially the same. And let's be honest, they work the same as well.

What happened to the excitement of future innovations? I've seen some pretty cool device prototypes and concepts during my career. Sadly, I suppose most of these are collecting dust in storage boxes somewhere, and others are used as very expensive paperweights.

So, will 2013 be the year of something just a little bit fresh? Maybe. Samsung is expected to show some sort of prototype device using their own flexible screen components. Whether this will be a technology display to interest other handset vendors in their displays or a working Android smartphone from Samsung's mobile unit isn't clear. But we'll see the light soon at CES.

We've been seeing these flexible screens from Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, 3M and other component vendors for approximately four years now. The bigger question is how useful are these if all the other building blocks of a handset are stiff as a board? Would a handset that conforms to the inside of your pocket be a subtle solution to a slight problem? Now it's up to designers and software engineers to think outside the block.

And let's face it, this is what we're all waiting for:

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