Tech Talk: Samsung Foldable Displays To Replace The Note?

Samsung have released two flagship Galaxy devices since 2011. Five years ago, Samsung released the massively successful Samsung Galaxy S II and the large screen, more niche Samsung Galaxy Note. The Note introduced a larger display, a huge battery, more powerful internals and the S-Pen, Samsung's take on a stylus. Over these five years, the Galaxy Note as released in the second half of the year has become one of the most powerful and desirable devices, combining cutting edge specification with innovative uses of the S Pen. 2016's Samsung Galaxy Note 7 appeared to have the makings of a champion device and largely followed in the footsteps of the previous generations. Unfortunately, a fault in the Galaxy Note 7's embedded batteries proved impossible for Samsung to be able to rectify and has been recalled and will no longer be on sale. Instead, all 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 devices are to be recycled. Where does this leave the Samsung Galaxy Note brand and plans for any follow up device?

That question cannot be answered at the moment, but it would seem that Samsung are not abandoning plans to introduce something innovate to the market going forwards. However, reports from South Korea point towards Samsung taking their Android innovation down a slightly different path: even whilst the Galaxy Note 7 recalls were taking place, Samsung is said to have been increasing investment into their foldable screen display technology. Foldable display technology is seen as being a core part of Samsung's next generation devices and the company has entered the final development stages, which includes registering a US patent at the end of September 2016 to protect the foldable display technologies. The latest patent to be filed is based around a display panel constructed of a thin metal film film, insulating layers and an organic luminous body surrounded by another thin film. We've already seen prototype Samsung 5.5-inch and 10-inch foldable displays back in 2014 but so far the technology has yet to make an appearance in the consumer market.

Other manufacturers are also developing folding display technology. We've recently seen Xiaomi show off a flexible display and Samsung's South Korean arch-rival, LG, has also invested a considerable sum into the technology. LG have developed a foldable display and has entered full scale mass production after forming a technological partnership with Canadian IGNIS Innovation. However, LG have cautioned that: "...we will make a decision about the development of a foldable display after thoroughly checking future market situations." Instead of seeing a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 device next year, could we be seeing a device based around a foldable display. Such a device may still include Samsung's S Pen but may have a different brand in order to differentiate from the Galaxy Note's tarnished image. If it is a spiritual successor for the Note range, we can expect it to use Samsung's best available components such as the chipset, storage and camera.

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David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.
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