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From Samsung's US Patent Office filing From Samsung's US Patent Office filing Featured

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Coming soon to a Samsung dealer near you – a smartphone with a screen on three sides of its body.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate products in a crowded and mature smartphone market. New models are only incremental improvements on what they replace, and features have converged.

At the top of the market it is a two horse race between Samsung and Apple. Details of Apple’s iPhone 6, due next month, have been widely leaked and will be remarkable only because Apple has decided to move to a larger screen, already adopted by most other players and increasingly a necessity now that phones are used so often to play video.

So what can Samsung do to stay ahead? A possible direction has emerged in an article in the Korean version of IT news website ZDNet.

The article is illustrated with a diagram of a phone with a screen that wraps around to the sides. It says Samsung has already produced a prototype, and plans to a launch a phone with such a screen.

It quotes Kim Hyeon Jun, Samsung’s wireless business unit managing director, as saying the company is “preparing an attractive flagship employing innovative materials.” The device would be able to place widgets and other icons on the side rather than the top, replacing the buttons currently used.

But the article says it is unclear whether the innovative screen be economically produced in large numbers, and that its use may be limited to a premium model.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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