Samsung unveiled new display innovations at SDC18 a few weeks ago, with a huge focus on the foldable Infinity Flex screen that will go inside foldable smartphones next year. But the other Infinity screens, and particularly the Infinity-O design, also stood out. Before Samsung’s developer conference, rumors swirled that the Galaxy S10 will have an all-screen design with minimal bezels and no notch. That screen would feature a hole somewhere at the top where the front-facing camera would go. Now, an insider claims that Samsung will be the only company to rock this particular display technology during a period of exclusivity, seemingly confirming previous reports that offered some insight into the production of Infinity-O screens.
That insider is none other than Ice Universe, who regularly reveals all sorts of accurate inside info on social media.
The Galaxy S10's Infinity-O screen laser hole punching technology is called "HIAA" (Hall In Active Area) by Samsung. This is Samsung's exclusive OLED screen technology. Samsung has exclusive technology for a certain period of time. pic.twitter.com/jWPXUgoAMl
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) November 21, 2018
According to this prominent leaker, Samsung’s Infinity-O screen technology will be exclusive to Samsung products for an unspecified period.
Samsung is calling the technology “Hole In Active Area” or HIAA, something we heard of before Ice posted the tweet above (“hall” is a typo). Last week, a report from Korea said that Samsung would employ diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers to make HIAA screens. The report said that Samsung Display would drill two holes in the screen, one for the camera lens and the other for the infrared sensor.
Samsung already teased Infinity-O screens for mid-range devices, with the Galaxy A8s expected to be the first handset to feature an all-screen HIAA design. That means HIAA tech won’t be exclusive to Samsung flagships like the Galaxy S10. But Samsung may not sell HIAA screens to competitors for a while if Ice’s revelation is accurate. He has a great track record with inside info, of course, so it’s certainly reasonable to think this info might be accurate.
Samsung Display provides screens for various smartphone vendors, including Apple and Google. Of those, Apple already has a patent that describes technology needed to drill holes through a screen. Mind you, this isn’t a design patent, but a patent that explains how one would be able to pierce through the screen without damaging it.
Just because Apple has a patent on drilling holes into smartphone screens doesn’t mean next year’s iPhones will have displays resembling the Galaxy S10’s Infinity-O screen, especially if Samsung will hold on to this rumored exclusivity. On the other hand, Samsung likes to make money off of iPhones. Also, LG Display is also a provider of OLED screens for iPhone XS handsets, and recent patents showed that LG is also working on screens with holes in them.
Ultimately, what Ice’s revelation means is that no Samsung rival will be able to offer a design similar to the Galaxy S10 for some time.