[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Electronics is rumored to be ditching flat screens for its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone and going solely with dual-edge panels, but industry watchers doubt whether there is sufficient demand for a curved screen-only model.
According to recent news reports, the upcoming Galaxy S8 may come in 5.7-inch and 6.2-inch variants, with both adopting dual edge screens. This would be a new strategy for the tech giant, which has unveiled its Galaxy S6 and S7 series with both flat and dual-edge screens.
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The Galaxy S8 is also expected to feature a bezel-less display, with a screen-to-body ratio greater than 90 percent.
Despite the seemingly radical design changes, industry watchers expressed doubts about whether customers would be happy to wave flat screens goodbye.
“There appears to be no high demand for dual-edge screens because some still find them inconvenient because they mistakenly touch the sides of the smartphones. The utility of a bezel-less display does not seem that much higher for small, portable smartphones compared to televisions,” said Choo Dae-young, an analyst in charge of electronics industry at Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade.
“Samsung appears to be pushing dual-edge screens to distinguish its design rather than from an efficiency perspective. In order to boost efficiency, Samsung needs to unveil foldable devices, which can be used as both smartphones and tablets,” said Peter Lee, NH Investment & Securities.
Samsung Electronics is currently developing two types of foldable devices -- whose panels face inward and outward -- to unveil them as early as late 2017, according to news reports. The smartphone can be used as a tablet when it is unfolded.
Samsung has been adopting duel edge screens to set its design apart from other smartphones but the move has been fast followed by Chinese tech firms and Apple.
Samsung Display has provided its curved panels for Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Vivo. LG Display also supplied the panels to China’s Xiaomi. Apple is also rumored to be adopting curved screens for its new iPhone 8 to be unveiled next year.
By Shin Ji-hye/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)