Samsung has launched a contest, in hopes of rounding up the best uses for its flexible display technology.
“We are calling on the most innovative designers, hardware engineers and entrepreneurs to develop new product ideas that put our revolutionary Flexible Display technology to use in ways that will define the future,” the company posted to its Website.
Your reward for redefining the future of device usage?
There’s a $10,000 Grand Prize, a $5,000 First Prize and a $2,500 Second Prize. (Kind of paltry for a company that sold 71 million smartphones in a single quarter, no?)
Business plan submissions will be accepted beginning Aug. 29, and they’re due in by Oct. 6.
Sept. 15 is the deadline for early feedback eligibility. (Early submissions may be offered tips by the Samsung team to help improve them.)
There’s a long list of Official Rules—such as that submissions must be made in English, you shouldn’t for a second consider including a logo other than Samsung’s and that winners should be under no illusion that Samsung is offering them a job—on the site.
An ideal submission, says the contest site, is a product whose value proposition is enabled by the flexible display technology—a product with a value that current technologies don’t make possible.
Submitted proposals should also tackle cost assumptions, the matter of a timeline and how commercially viable the product is.
Samsung Introduces Youm
At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the Samsung Display Lab introduced a brand called Youm and early prototypes. A smartphone featured a thin, flexible plastic display that could be pulled out and retracted, and a second, dual-screen device featured a display that wrapped around its outer edge, making updates and other information visible when the displays were folded face-to-face.
The displays being marketed under the Youm brand, Stephen Woo, president of Samsung Device Solutions, said at the time, “don’t just bend the rules of display technologies, they completely rewrite them.”
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays emit deeper blacks and richer colors, Brian Berkeley, senior vice president of the Display Lab, had explained, adding that his team had also figured out how to make them thin, bendable, lightweight and easily able to sustain a drop.
They seemed to be like thick photo negatives—pliant and able to be rolled, but not folded.
Samsung also showed a short video, with two other imagined devices that the technology could make possible. Samsung seems to have ideas but realizes that others are surely possible.
Little has been heard from the Youm brand since January, and Samsung surely expects that it will soon enough have Apple to compete with.
In March, Apple filed a patent request for an “electronic device with [a] wrap around display.”
In its application, Apple stated that current smartphone designs make little use of sides and rear surfaces. “Therefore,” it continued, “there exists a need for an improved form factor for portable electronic devices [that] allows functionality to extend to more than one surface of the device.”
Later in the application, Apple explained that a flexible display could be folded in such a way “as to form a continuous loop such that images (still or video) can be presented in a wrap-around manner in which the images appear to be presented in a continuous loop.”