CES: Samsung shows prototype flexible screens

Tech could be used for smartphones, tablets, TVs

Samsung bent the conversation to its will during its keynote at CES on Wednesday.

Brian Berkeley, VP of Samsung San Jose display lab, showed two prototype flexible screens dubbed Youm, one of a springy bendable plastic that could bow to past 90 degrees, then snap back, and another that bends around the edge of a mobile device, so the subject line of a message can appear on the edge even while the device is closed and sitting on a table.

Company is prepping to use the technology for new smartphones, tablets and TVs.

Much of the presentation was devoted to the new Exynos 5 “Octa” processor, which applies a new tech concept from ARM dubbed “Big Little.” The chip has two 4-core processors. Some are high-performance cores for CPU-intensive tasks (hence “Big”), while the others are low-performance cores that use very little power (“Little”). The entire unit is said to deliver twice the processing power of previous generation chips with 70% less energy.

Glenn Roland, head of mobile platforms for videogame publisher Electronic Arts, said the Octa offers “a level of processing power never before seen in any mobile device.”

Roland showed “Need for Speed: Most Wanted” on a prototype (after an embarrassing delay while the game loaded), showing improved collision effects, real-time reflections on car windows and improved motion blur for added realism.

Microsoft’s chief technical strategy officer, Eric Rudder, said the Redmond-based giant is working with Samsung to speed its transition from a software company to a device company.

“There is no rule that says displays or computers need to be flat, opaque or rigid,” he said. “We have a prototype of Windows Phone and how it would look on one of these (flexible) screens.” Rudder said Samsung technology will “bring us to a point where any object can be a surface and can be a computer.” He then showed what he said was undoctored footage of an Xbox projecting extending game play to the walls of the Microsoft lab space.

“Some companies talk about a reality distortion field; we’ve actually built one,” said Rudder, jabbing subtly at Apple.