Will Samsung's highly anticipated flexible screens ever see the light of day? Samsung has once again announced that their flexible display's release will be further delayed. Samsung said that their planned end of 2013 release goal would not be met.
An OLED display is extremely vulnerable to Oxygen and moisture. Because of this the encapsulation process is one of the most important parts of developing any new OLED screened device. This is one of the reasons why OLED displays have taken such a long time to be adapted by the large screen market. Nobody wants to pay a huge premium on an OLED TV only to have their encapsulation fail, causing serious quality issues.
Samsung were able to create an excellent encapsulation process for their Galaxy S series of smartphones. While they do occasionally have issues, they are no more significant than other manufacturers. Unfortunately for development times the technology behind encapsulating a flexible OLED display is far more complex than any fixed screen device. In a fixed screen flexibility is almost entirely unimportant when choosing the encapsulation materials. In a flexible device the OLEDs have to be able to move with the screen, a challenge that is apparently quite difficult for Samsung to efficiently pull off.
Samsung claims the delay is to develop a new process to replace the process that Vitex Systems had previously developed. They say their new process will enable faster manufacturing saying, "As we have accumulated expertise in this field, progress is being made in substrates as well as encapsulation technology. We have developed a new technology than can shorten the encapsulation process to less than 2 minutes by using the Vitex System-developed encapsulation technology."
Producing a new display technology like this is extremely difficult and normally I would be more than willing to cut Samsung some slack. However, LG is already planning on releasing their first Flexible OLED smartphone in the second half of this year. While LG certainly has, at times, earned a rather poor reputation with Android fans, they continue to excel in many spheres outside of cell phone manufacture. For example in the large LCD market (9.1 inches and up) they outsell Samsung by a whopping 65 million units.
It seems like Samsung may be becoming rather lazy high atop their pedestal in the Android world. While it's probably too early to call their stagnation Apple-like, they seem to be getting closer and closer to equaling the fruit company's lack of innovation. I hope LG is the first to market with flexible displays and I hope they sell a whole bunch of them. While I don't really have a problem with Samsung, they could use a few months of watching LG steal market share to light a fire underneath them. Maybe they will finally give their next flagship a flexible display capable of transforming into a spaceship like I've always wanted! Are you excited for flexible displays? Or do you think they will end up like 3D mobile display tech a few years ago? Let us know in the comment section down below!