Coming Soon: Curved Smartphones from LG and Samsung

Phone design might get a bit swoopier between now and the end of the year.

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LG Display

A 5-inch curved OLED screen from LG Display

LG Display issued a press release today touting its forthcoming 6-inch smartphone display that’s capable of bending without breaking. The magic is in the use of plastic substrates instead of glass; LG claims the display will feature a concave vertical bend (top to bottom) and will be thinner and lighter than displays currently on the market.

Reuters reports that the display will find its way into an LG-branded smartphone this November, though that snippet comes only from an unnamed “source familiar with the matter.” We heard this rumor before, too – all the way back in April.

However, LG’s press release only states, “Our goal is to take an early lead in the flexible display market by introducing new products with enhanced performance and differentiated designs next year.”

That quip doesn’t rule out the possibility of a curved LG phone this year, though, as a smartphone with a curved screen might not technically count as one with a “differentiated design.” You may recall that the Google-branded Galaxy Nexus smartphone that was rolled out in 2011 featured a curved piece of glass over the display. The Galaxy S rolled out before it in 2010 featured a similar trick. In this case, however, we’re talking about the actual display itself being curved, not a flat display under a piece of curved glass.

But for comparison’s sake, the Verge reports that this LG display “has more than twice the curve of Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus.” If you’ve ever seen a Galaxy Nexus in person, the curved screen isn’t mind-blowingly noticeable in an Oh man, what’s wrong with your phone? It’s bent! kind of way. A phone with double-the-curve-and-then-some might turn a few more heads, though.

If this phone does happen to make it here by November, it’ll be following a curved-display phone from Samsung that’s due in October. A separate report from the Verge notes that it’s possible this device could be based on a concept Samsung showed off earlier in the year of a phone that curved from side to side instead of top to bottom.

Why curved displays? Aside from making the phones stand out design-wise – and this is simply me hypothesizing here — it’s possible that curving the display could cut down on cracked screens. Make a phone into more of a C shape and it’s much harder to drop it flat on its face. Such a phone would also almost certainly be marketed as one that’s better for phone calls, curving oh-so-perfectly from your ear to your mouth. It could also be that curving the phone could make it more conducive to storing in a back pocket, assuming you’d be able to sit on it without worrying. This six-inch display from LG doesn’t exactly sound like it’d fit too nicely in a front pocket.