SEL Aiming to Change Smartphones and Wearables With Real Curved OLED DIsplays

November 5, 2013 - Written By Brendan Lynch

Devices with curved displays are becoming a reality with releases like Samsung’s Galaxy Round and LG’s G Flex. While these devices are interesting, and certainly open up new opportunities when it comes to form factors, they are unfortunately lacking in some areas.

Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (SEL) is hoping to bring a new display to the market that will push the possibilities of curved displays. is reporting that the company has been working on a panel that can bend to a diameter of just 4mm. What this means is that devices could potentially have a display that wraps around the back in order to display other information. It also means that devices like smartwatches might just end up being a curved screen due to the new dimensions these panels can achieve.

In addition, SEL’s displays are supposedly the only curved displays in the world that are capable of displaying actual images and full motion video around the curve. While these displays would be great for displaying content like text messages and other notifications, it may be quite some time before we see these displays in commercial products.

The delay is due to the fact that this type of display has certain drawbacks. For starters, the resolution on them is rather low, with the 5.4″ version clocking in at just 960 x 1280, making it have a ppi of 302. While this isn’t bad, its not enough to compete with the displays that are currently on the market. Another problem has to do with the fact that most people like to use cases on their devices. Having a phone with a “wrap around” display will make using cases nearly impossible. This means that the displays must be incredibly durable in order to stand up to everyday use.

While these displays are interesting and unique, are they really practical? Are curved screens that wrap around a device really all that useful when it comes to everyday activities? I supposed its up to the user but overall, these displays are going to have to offer come concrete features in order to make up for the shortcomings.