Samsung is having a unique kind of contest, the company announced today, and it’s not the kind where someone walks away with a Galaxy S4. The Korean smartphone maker is asking people to submit ideas around what kind of devices to make with its flexible display technology. Have a hardware startup? Samsung wants you… to figure out what to do with their product.
Samsung is looking “to encourage designers, hardware engineers and entrepreneurs to begin thinking about future start-ups ideas using flexible display technology.” Winners are up for prizes that range from $2,500, to $5,000 and $10,000, for third, second and first place respectively, and the entries will be scored based on how important flexible displays are to the overall design, and how realistic and viable both the hardware and the business plan turn out to be.
Unfortunately, Samsung stipulates that teams won’t get any kind of firm details about when they might actually be able to get any prototype components should their idea be feasible enough to become real, nor will the company reveal anything around component pricing with regards to flexible displays to participating teams. Teams can create devices with displays ranging from 1-20 inches, with a max full-HD resolution of 1920×1080.
But if you are a hardware startup with a great idea you want to keep to yourself, and aren’t just looking to flex some design and engineering muscles in a semi-serious way, you might want to pay attention to this key bit of copy from the contest homepage:
Samsung is continuously innovating, and may develop information that is similar to materials submitted in this contest, so only non-confidential information should be submitted.
In other words, while this looks like an innocuous enough contest, it could actually be a way to crowdsource product ideas, or at least Samsung isn’t legally saying it isn’t that. But the company is likely more interested in encouraging potential supply customers and building a product pipeline for a new component than alienating hardware engineers and makers.
So as with virtually any contest asking for creative input, participate at your own risk, but hopefully this one will at least give us an idea what a future of consumer devices that use flexible displays could look like.