A woman rides an escalator in Gangnam, Seoul, in October 2016. Samsung had told customers worldwide to stop using their Galaxy Note 7 smartphones as it struggled to contain a snowballing safety crisis that threatens to derail the powerhouse global brand.
Ed Jones/AFP—Getty Images
By Aaron Pressman
December 9, 2016

The entire world seems to have settled on a black rectangle of glass and metal as the appropriate design for a smartphone, but Samsung is going to experiment with bendable and two-screen models next year, according to a new report.

The world’s largest smartphone maker is creating two models using organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens for 2017 in modest quantities to test market reaction, the Korean tech site ET News reported on Thursday citing anonymous sources. One model will be rectangular with a flexible, bendable OLED screen. A second model will resemble a tablet that can fold in half in the middle for a more phone-like experience, with a screen on the front and back.

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The once fast-growing smartphone market has slowed this year, especially at the high end, with worldwide shipments forecast to increase less than 2%, according to IDC. That could be prompting manufacturers to offer more innovative and provocative new products to stand out. Apple (aapl) is rumored to be working on new iPhones with edge-to-edge glass screens and wireless charging for next year, for example.

Samsung also wants to bury the memory of the exploding battery debacle that led to the worldwide recall and cancellation of its Galaxy Note 7 phone. A hot new product, assuming it avoids any technical malfunctions, could improve Samsung’s image and finances—the Note recall caused a 96% plunge in third-quarter earnings at the company’s mobile division.

Samsung has twice in the past sold phones with slightly bendable screens, ET News noted. In 2013, the Galaxy Round came with bendable right and left edges; and in 2014, a Galaxy Note Edge had one flexible side.

Samsung also showed off a smartphone with two screens connected by a hinge resembling a book binding in a YouTube video in 2014, the site noted.

Other companies are working on phones with flexible screens or dual screens similar to the rumored Samsung models, including Lenovo, Oppo, and JDI.

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