New form factors and display formats for ereaders, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices could be in the offing with the advent of new technologies for curved and flexible screens – some of them just about to debut on the market. Samsung, for example, has just announced its Samsung Galaxy Round, claimed to be “the world’s first curved display smartphone, to be available October 10th in Korea,” with a 5.7” Full HD Super AMOLED curved screen.
Not to be outdone, meanwhile, Korean rival LG has announced mass production of the “world’s first flexible OLED panel for smartphones.”
“The flexible display market is expected to grow quickly as this technology is expected to expand further into diverse applications including automotive displays, tablets and wearable devices,” said Dr. Sang Deog Yeo, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of LG Display, also promising products based on the new technology by next year. Rollable and foldable displays are just around the corner, according to LG Display.
Samsung itself, remember, showcased a flexible display technology of its own called Samsung YOUM back in January at CES 2013. But in any event, we’ve been here well before. E Ink’s Mobius flexible display TFT technology takes the principle up to advertising display size. And as far back as 2007, Philips spinoff Polymer Vision was … ahem … displaying a device called the Readius with a flexible epaper rollout display. Sadly, before its device could get to market, the company … ahem … folded.
All the same, it appears that flexible screen technology may now be almost ready for prime time. The applications, from smartwatches to foldable e-magazines and e-newspapers, could be very interesting, although I don’t expect the attraction of reading on the curve to last.