“Flexible screen” can mean a lot of things, from a display that can recover from minor bends to a panel capable of rolling up like a sheet or parchment. Samsung wants to do both, as well as everything in between.
There is no guarantee that the company will succeed in all these goals, and it might not even bother with some designs.
Nevertheless, it has been confirmed more or less beyond doubt that the company will produce the first flexible AMOLED panels (active-matrix organic light emitting diode) in the first half of 2013.
Of course, knowing that Samsung demonstrated prototypes in the past, it would have been strange if there wasn't any progress to report on.
The most obvious use of form-changing displays is in flexible handsets, primarily smartphones. With essentially unbreakable screens, there will not be any worries anymore about tight or small pockets.
If there isn't enough room to store or carry the device, one can simply fold it or roll it into a smaller shape and go from there.
Granted, Samsung will need to figure out how to make all the hardware inside just as flexible, but there is no question that a working phone of this kind would earn Samsung points against its rival.
True, Samsung is already the greatest supplier of smartphones, so it doesn't suffer from too pressing a need for an edge. Nevertheless, it helps to be prepared to up the stakes, especially with something so potentially game-changing.
We would have said “unique,” but Nokia has been experimenting with bendable displays of its own, as has ASUS. There is, however, no clue on when those research projects will start paying dividends.
At any rate, we are more than sure that, whether by Samsung's hand or not, phones won't be the only gadgets with form-changing capabilities when the time comes. E-readers, tablets, even monitors could benefit from the ability to roll like a newspaper.