I got a chance to look at some of Samsung Displays' new and upcoming products, probably one of the highlights of my CES 2013 experience. There's a bit to go through, but first up are their buzzworthy curved displays and a concept phone or two. I spent three years in my undergrad optical and electrical engineering education working on curving a CCD for use matching focal planes, and thus curved displays are instantly near and dear to me as interesting next steps.

Samsung was showing off a single-axis curve in their demo room. First is a larger size display with a relatively small bend radius. It's a hemicylindrical display designed for signage.

Next are two smartphone concepts. I've been wondering for some time what curved (not necessarily flexible) displays would enable or look like for a smartphone, and Samsung's concepts are actually pretty innovative looking. The two concepts have a bend on the horizontal or vertical axis — a bend on the right side, or bottom. Then a flip cover covers the planar section of the display while leaving the curved section exposed. This ostensibly allows glanceable information, notifications, and messages to be displayed without requiring a user to flip open the whole phone, and with AMOLED this section can be lit up without having to light up the entire display for saving some power. 

The bend radius on these two isn't very extreme but looks like it could be a compelling example use case for a smartphone design. I don't expect either of these designs to come to market immediately, but it's clearly something on Samsung's mind for future products. The entire touch layer and display glass is curved with the display underneath.

[section and photo removed at Samsung's request]

Although we originally had more specific information, I strongly suspect the rumored 4.99-inch 1080p AMOLED display will find its way into whatever Galaxy S 4 ends up being. 

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  • inighthawki - Saturday, January 12, 2013 - link

    Anyone else find the idea of curved screens pretty dumb on a phone? Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Saturday, January 12, 2013 - link

    Would be really handy in a watch, though. Something like a Pebble 2. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, January 12, 2013 - link

    I was wondering what function or utility curved displays would serve, but I'm kind of impressed with the reference designs they have setup there. With the flip cover closed you get a sliver of display that has notifications and other info. I honestly think that's kind of neat - like a Samsung Continuum taken to its full extent.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • sheh - Sunday, January 13, 2013 - link

    Adding a secondary small display is a simpler solution, like flip phones. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Sunday, January 13, 2013 - link

    That wouldn't be protected then, though. The curved display as Brian describes it would still be protected from most abuse. Reply
  • NeBlackCat - Sunday, January 13, 2013 - link

    Not me. I once had an Acer Liquid Metal which had a curved plastic touchscreen overlaying the flat LCD. It was much easier to type accurately on than similarly sized completely flat screens. Reply
  • zebrax2 - Sunday, January 13, 2013 - link

    That make sense since with a curved display a smaller part of your finger tip would be touching the screen providing more accurate selection Reply
  • sheh - Sunday, January 13, 2013 - link

    Not necessarily, although these examples definitely aren't exciting. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Sunday, January 13, 2013 - link

    Don't worry, soon Apple will patent it and call it iCurve and then you'll think it's cool. Reply
  • KPOM - Sunday, January 13, 2013 - link

    When did anyone mention Apple in this thread before you? Reply

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