Tech

Tim Culpan is a technology columnist for Bloomberg Gadfly. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.

You know a company is desperate for ideas when it starts to go retro.

Apple isn't the only one suffering the dreaded mobile malady, caught atop a slowing handset market.

While Samsung pulled out a solid quarter in the three months through March, thanks to demand for its latest high-end handset, the Korean electronics maker has posted growth in mobile-phone sales from a year earlier in just two of the past eight quarters.

Growth Is Gone
Samsung's quarterly mobile-phone revenue is no longer growing from a year earlier
Source: Bloomberg

No wonder then that it's planning some gimmicks, including a phone that can fold in half  "like a cosmetic compact" as Bloomberg's Jungah Lee reported Tuesday. 

Samsung is considering introducing two smartphones with bendable screens as early as next year, Lee reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The handsets will use organic light-emitting diodes, a new(ish) display technology that produces thinner, brighter screens while using less power.

Mobile Malady
Samsung's handset sales need a boost after falling from their 2013 peak
Source: Bloomberg

This isn't the first time Samsung has resorted to attention-grabbing features of questionable value. Its Galaxy Edge, released in November 2014, has a display curved onto one side that can show snippets of information such as notifications or news tickers. It's kinda cool, but didn't do a lot to turn around sales.

While it does have great technology to show off, Samsung will need to do more than bring back the flip phone if wants to revive growth in mobile.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Tim Culpan in Taipei at tculpan1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Matthew Brooker at mbrooker1@bloomberg.net