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Will Samsung Inspire Apple To Build A Dual-Screen iPhone? (AAPL, SSNLF)

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Will Samsung Inspire Apple To Build A Dual-Screen iPhone? AAPL, SSNLF

Over the last two years, Samsung (OTC: SSNLF) has popularized the large smartphone concept with the Galaxy Note series.

Now the South Korean tech giant is attempting to popularize another (somewhat familiar) idea: the flip phone.

Instead of building a razor-thin device like Motorola's (NASDAQ: GOOG) RAZR, Samsung built a bulky flip phone with two 3.7-inch Super AMOLED touch displays. That device, the Samsung SCH-W2013, sold moderately well when it arrived in China last year.

According to DigiTimes, Samsung is developing another dual-screen flip phone for release in 2013.

Unlike the flip phones of yesteryear, these devices have been modernized with a number of high-end features. The last model, for example, shipped with an Exynos 1.4GHz quad-core processor.

The new device, which is expected to be released in the South Korean and Chinese markets, will come with a Snapdragon 400 1.7GHz quad-core processor from Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM).

Related: Microsoft's Next Tablet Could Include Qualcomm Chips

This is an interesting twist considering that Exynos chips are manufactured by Samsung. It shows that either Qualcomm's chips are better or cheaper, or may indicate that consumers believe they are superior. If so, Samsung may want to capitalize on that perception.

While dual-screen flip phones are still not very common in the smartphone industry, Sony (NYSE: SNE) tried to implement a similar concept for tablets. The resulting product, known as the Sony Tablet P, received low scores from critics when it was released in March 2012.

The clamshell design might not have sat well with consumers either. In just 16 months, Sony has removed all hints of the Tablet P's existence from its website.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is rumored to be developing a 3D display for its smartphone, which could result in a clamshell design, similar to the Nintendo 3DS (OTC: NTDOY). Amazon may also take a cue from HTC and stick to the more modern bar-shaped format, as seen in virtually every smartphone available.

Samsung has not indicated that it will ship its first dual-screen flip phone outside of China. But if the next iteration continues to rise in China and performs well in South Korea, it could continue to crop up in new territories. In time, Samsung may even be daring enough to bring the device to the United States.

If that happens, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is likely to take notice. Whether or not it will inspire a design change is a whole other story.

The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker is expected to release a larger iPhone (possibly with a five-inch screen) in 2013 or 2014, indicating that Samsung's success has already influenced Apple's product development.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

 

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