Last week, just before the show floor opened on yet another Mobile World Congress, Samsung announced their new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones. Unsurprisingly, Samsung is making good use of their flexible OLED technology, with a 5.5-inch display on the Galaxy S7 Edge featuring the same edges that fall away on both the left and right of the display. Despite the fact Samsung has only been using this technology a couple of years now, it’s become a trademark for the new look Samsung unveiled this time last year. If latest reports are to be believed, this Edge display might not be a Samsung-exclusive for long however, as Chinese manufacturers will be launching similar devices later this year.
Word from South Korea is that Samsung will be supplying the likes of Huawei, Vivo and Xiaomi with flexible OLED displays, and that each of them will be launching flagship devices with flexible displays. In the case of Vivo, their upcoming XPlay 5 is already confirmed to be launching with such a display. This gives the XPlay 5 a sleek appearance, with no bezels on either the left or right sides of the device. It might seem strange for Samsung to supply their competition – especially given how poorly they perform in China themselves – with their trademark feature, but ultimately, Samsung will still benefit from such a move. Samsung is a big group of a number of different firms, and Samsung Display is the firm responsible for these AMOLED panels. As this is a separate business from the main Samsung Electronics arm, this gives them a little more freedom to do as they please with their technology, to a certain degree. As such, if Samsung Display keeps bringing the cash in, the larger Samsung group will still benefit.
For the industry, this could have a good effect all round, after all there’s only so much that manufacturers can do to a flat slate-looking smartphone. It’s arguable that the Edge displays from Samsung have been one of the biggest changes in smartphone design for the best part of a decade. Samsung doesn’t fare well in China, and have in fact stopped marketing their flagship devices as being “a Samsung”, which softens any blow that selling this key feature might deliver them. Regardless, it looks as though Android smartphones across the board will start to look a little different and have more to offer, thanks to Samsung.