On Monday, LG announced through a press release that their flexible AMOLED displays were entering mass production. Of course this comes after rumors have been floating around that Samsung would release a Galaxy Note 3 with a flexible display. This is basically all about the two major South Korean manufacturers racing to see who can be first. While Samsung was first with a Smartwatch, they probably should have waited a bit longer, according to reviews. The Samsung device with a flexible display is said to be called the Galaxy Round. Samsung actually showed off their flexible displays earlier this year at CES in Las Vegas.
Since Flexible Displays were showed off at CES, the technology has matured, and Samsung has even asked developers for ideas of how to use these displays in their phones. But there are plenty of myths out there about these Flexible displays, like are we going to see bendy-curvey panels? Or be able to fold up our phone like a book. Nope, that won’t happen, at least not yet.
AMOLED displays are made by applying a chemical substrate to a thin piece of glass and then layering the electronic components that control the displays on top of it. While Flexible displays use a thin, bendable plastic instead of that glass, otherwise they are pretty similar. The plastic does give the screen some bendiness, but the electronic bits become the limiting factor in flexibility. The bits are also able to tolerate some deformation. So if you saw the flexible displays and had visions of folding up your phone and putting it in your pocket, this isn’t the technology you wanted. At a radius of curvature of 400mm, the Samsung display has a reported maximum deflection of just 18 degrees, or 5mm. While LG’s panel has even more radius of curvature of 700mm.
What this means, is basically we’ll be seeing very little other than wide, gentle curves with a deflection not exceeding 18 degrees. That is very far from right angles and even further from smartphone pocket squares. LG’s release also foreshadowed what is sure to be a major upcoming marketing point by describing it as “unbreakable”. Although, the Flexible displays should suffer fewer costly repairs, even if it’s not completely unbreakable. This also means there should be more room for the battery, and who doesn’t want more battery in their phone?
So far, both LG and Samsung have accomplished a lot in the Flexible display market. It’s going to be interesting to see how all of this works out. I’d love to see what they come up with in terms of devices with flexible displays. This is definitely going to become a popular market pretty soon.