Samsung's Secret Weapon Against Apple
Samsung is developing a new technology that could finally give it a significant edge over the iPhone.
However, it's not an entirely new technology, but rather a more polished form of an existing technology that few consumers have had the chance to experience: a flexible display. Flexible displays have been hyped as the future of cell phones and mobile technology for the past several years. But it wasn't until now that consumers may finally see the true potential of what a flexible display can do.
Is this concept ad (via Engadget) too good to be true? Absolutely. There is no way in the world that we will be walking around with a clear, super-thin flexible display that doubles as a holographic device. Maybe in 2022, but certainly not in 2012.
That said, both Samsung and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) are planning to launch new devices with a flexible screen in the coming year. Believe it or not, Nokia's bendable device looks pretty darn cool. It may not have any practical uses at the moment, but if Samsung's video wasn't enough to inspire Nokia engineers to develop bigger and better things, then they shouldn't even be in the smartphone business.
Where does this leave Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)? Apple isn't going to jump on the flexible display bandwagon unless it feels that there is a need for a bendable iPhone. But judging by the way the company reacted to the 3D smartphone craze (which lasted about a day), you can bet that Apple will sit tight and wait to see how well this technology performs before investing any amount of money into producing its own flexible screen.
However, that logic could be troublesome to Apple's future. While 3D is and always has been a visual gimmick (and shows no signs of changing anytime soon), there are some practical uses for a bendable screen that could be of use to every technology company:
- If a screen is bendable, it could feasibly move on impact and be less prone to breaking or cracking.
- Bendable screens could make technology more wearable (just think of what this could do for the iPod Nano).
- New apps could take advantage of the screen's flexibility. Ex: in addition to tilting and twisting the device, you could now physically bend the screen to influence and/or control elements within a game.
Thus, Apple could be missing out on a great opportunity here – an opportunity that Samsung is hoping it can fully cash in on.
If you have high hopes for flexible displays, consider the following:
- Nokia is one of the top companies leading the charge in flexible display development.
- Windows 8 is being specifically designed not only for PCs but for tablets as well. Will Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) further tweak the forthcoming OS for flexible displays?
- If flexible displays do well for mobile devices, it's only a matter of time before they make their way to computer monitors, and eventually larger screens, which would probably come from TV makers like Panasonic (NYSE: PC).
Those who have little faith in the future of flexible displays should consider this alternative:
- Corning (NYSE: GLW) makes Gorilla Glass, a durable (but not bendable) glass that is currently used in the screens of many high-tech devices.
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