Samsung may release 2 smartphones with bendable screens in 2017

– Samsung Electronics Co. is considering introducing two new smartphone models that will feature bendable screens, including a version that folds in half like a cosmetic compact, Bloomberg reports citing people familiar with the matter.

The devices using organic light-emitting diodes could be unveiled as soon as early 2017, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. That would likely give it a head start on new Apple Inc. iPhones. The second Samsung model will have a 5-inch screen when used as a handset that unfurls into a display that’s as large as 8 inches, similar to a tablet, the people said, according to Bloomberg.

Samsung, the biggest supplier of OLED panels for mobile products, has pioneered the development of new screen formats with its multi-sided Edge smartphones. Using advanced display technology may help the company recapture customers from Apple and boost earnings that have slumped for the past two years.

“This product could be a game-changer if Samsung successfully comes up with a user interface suitable for bendable screens,” said Lee Seung Woo, an analyst at IBK Securities Co. in Seoul. “Next year is a probable scenario. Their biggest obstacle was related to making transparent plastics and making them durable, which seems resolved by now.”

Shares of Samsung rose 1.5 percent to 1,398,000 won in Seoul, extending this year’s gain to 11 percent. Suppliers to Samsung jumped. V Technology Co, which counts Samsung as its second biggest client according to data compiled by Bloomberg, jumped 15 percent to 9,270 yen in Tokyo. Murata Manufacturing Co. climbed 4.7 percent and Screen Holdings Co. reversed early declines to close higher, Bloomberg says.