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Samsung 'planning three-sided smartphone screen'

Friday, 15 Nov 2013 | 6:55 AM ET
Samsung Galaxy Round
Samsung Electronics Co | AP
Samsung Galaxy Round

Good things come in threes - Samsung is planning to launch a three-sided smartphone display next year with a screen that wraps around the handset's edges, according to a report.

The company behind the world's first curved phone screen, the Galaxy Round, released in South Korea last month, is reportedly going to use an upgraded version of the Youm flexible OLED screen technology in the new model.

Users may be able to read text messages from an angle and each side of the screen is said to operate separately, a Bloomberg report said, quoting people familiar with the plans.

Curved smartphone technology could give Samsung the edge over its rival Apple in the fiercely contested space, as the smartphone sector is set to see further slowdown over the coming years.

(Read more: Samsung creams Apple in third quarter smartphone sales)

Analysts told CNBC that the curved design would allow Samsung to stand out to consumers.

"Over the last five years, almost every smartphone has ended up having a very similar shape," Ian Fogg, head of mobile analysis at IHS Electronics and Media, said. "The first thing this does is it enables Samsung to innovate in the design and appearance of the handset to make it stand out from rivals."

New, larger iPhones coming?
Sascha Segan of PCMag.com comments on reports that Apple is developing phones with 4.7- and 5.5-inch displays.

It is unclear whether the design will feature on the S or Note series of premium handsets or feature in a new line of hardware.

Curved design is something that is being considered by other technology companies. Apple is reportedly developing new iPhone designs including bigger screens with curved glass.

The move by Samsung follows a strategy by the company to diversify its product portfolio. The company unveiled the Galaxy Gear smartwatch earlier this year and has registered a patent for glasses that can answer calls.

(Read more: Samsung keeps it simple to overtake Apple)

But some analyst feel that the new Samsung smartphone will not make a big impact in the market.

"I don't think it will really set the market on fire because I'm not sure what it adds beyond extending the screen on the phone. And whilst it is nice to have extra screen, it is not a revolutionary step," Sam Gee, technology analyst at Mintel, told CNBC.

An exact release date for the phone has not been reported, but questions over the use of the curved screen remain.

"The question is that does the curved screen give you better user experience? I would have to raise the question, 'just because they can do it technically does it mean it will fly as a solution?'," said Chris Lewis, a telecoms and ICT analyst at Lewis Insight.

Samsung were unable to provide a comment at the time of publication.


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