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The Readius – an earlier less successful effort in foldable screen technology.

The reporting around CES 2014 included plenty of rumors and hints from a supposedly closed-doors presentation of Samsung’s latest contribution to smartphone technology: A workable folding screen. Solid details are sparse, with no official Samsung announcement, but Korean and other industry sources indicated that this was am AMOLED screen, 5.68” in size, based on a plastic-style substrate. This follows earlier statements from Samsung that it would have a foldable touchscreen ready for market by 2015, but the screen displayed at CES has been described as market-ready.

A two-leaf or even three-leaf gatefold screen obviously would be a pretty friendly format for ebook reading. Not only does it put things closer to the original print experience, but the move away from the screen paradigm towards more and different varieties of presentation is a welcome step towards greater user choice. AMOLED also offers the kind of high-quality visual experience that would work well for ereaders, though of course, far from epaper.

Folding screens also offer potential for greater varieties of form factor in ereading devices. With wearable or wrist devices still handicapped somewhat by screen size, a foldout option could be quite a game changer. And with the phablet format growing ever more popular, Samsung and its peers may line up many new and interesting ways to fit bigger screens into smaller devices. Samsung already has its Galaxy Gear out there, and who knows what might be in the works to build out from that first effort.

 
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