At MWC in Barcelona, Samsung took the wraps off of its two new flagship phones. One of them is distinct. The S6 Edge has two curved sides, which is made possible by flexible OLED technology that Samsung is currently developing and investing billions in.
A sign of the future
Samsung has shifted gear and replaced its philosophy of a replaceable battery, SD card reader and more with a simple metal and glass design, but the S6 Edge has a very distinct look mostly because of its display technology.
It has two curved sides, which is a continuation of the Note Edge phone that had one curved side. The original Edge could display notifications, news tickers and an app launcher on the curved part of the display. This is no longer possible on the slightly-less curved S6 Edge, but it still has the clock feature.
The 5.1-inch display offers a very high 2560x1440 pixel resolution. It is probably still based on Samsung’s non-RGB pixel patterns, and Samsung has yet to demonstrate why we need curved edges on a phone, but the key takeaway is that the screen can be produced without sacrificing other parameters. To be clear, the display is not just curved but actually flexible if you remove it from the rigid housing.
S6 Edge is a very primitive first-step in what flexible OLED panels will allows us to do. There are many obstacles to overcome as other components are still inflexible and we largely still largely rely on rigid materials for building devices, but it is clear that Samsung has high hopes for flexible OLEDs. The company is currently building a $3.6 billion OLED plant and a large portion of that is believed to be dedicated to production of flexible OLEDs. LG is also investing huge sums into the new technology.
At the moment, manufacturers are integrating the flexible display technology into devices that we know and own, but in the coming years the technology will enable entirely new and different devices as the industry rethinks what is possible. Exciting times.
S6 Edge is likely mostly a statement from Samsung. It will be produced and sold in stores as Samsung is ramping up production of flexible OLED, but the mass-market device is the Galaxy S6 with a flat OLED display. Both devices will launch on April 10.