Will This Samsung Innovation Leave Apple Out in the Cold?

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) revolutionized the smartphone market. However, the next major technological advancement is not expected to come from the iPhone maker, but rather from its sometime-competitor, sometime-collaborator Samsung (SSNLF:PK).

As CNET contributor Jason Hiner reported on Monday, the Korean electronics manufacturer will reveal its progress on “the technology that will transform the future of smartphones and tablets” in a few weeks, at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2013. The transformative device features a 5.5-inch flexible display with a 1,280-pixel by 720-pixel resolution and a 267-pixel density.

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The power of the technology is unquestionable; it will allow smartphone and tablets to be thinner, less breakable, and more power efficient, while enabling designers to have greater freedom in product designs and form.

Instead, the question is whether Apple will benefit from the technology as well. While Samsung’s new devices will be flexible, the company might not be so pliable when it comes to sharing its innovation. Since Apple did not let their working relationship stand in the way of charging Samsung with patent infringement, the company may limit the new technology to its own devices. After all, competition in the smartphone and tablet market is fierce.

Samsung and Apple have a multi-faceted relationship. This year, the two companies have fought for dominance of the ever-growing smartphone market, and that fight has spilled over into courtroom battles. After a jury determined that the electronics manufacturer had copied key iPhone and iPad design and software features last August, Apple was awarded damages of $1.05 billion. Apple even tried to secure an injunction against 26 of Samsung’s smartphones. But despite the conflict, Samsung still builds all of Apple’s custom A-series processors, although the iPhone maker is attempting to reduce its dependence on the company.

As Hiner noted, “it’s when we get to the next big leap forward that the divergence between Apple and Samsung could really matter.” Samsung produces 90 percent of devices equipped with OLED, or organic light-emitting diodes, a technology thinner and lighter than LCD, and it is also the company closest to bringing flexible OLEDs to market.

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