When it comes to displays, Samsung and LG are the first two companies that come into our minds, and why not…they control about 50-percent of the worldwide display market. They make displays for countless other companies, including Apple, and the displays they make are not only for smartphones, but also for tablets, laptops, HDTVs, automobiles, refrigerators and jet fighter planes. The newer heads-up displays are used in high-end automobiles as well. As our technical life becomes, well, more technical, displays of information will be needed for many products from the normal ‘hi-tech’ devices to home security systems to everyday appliances or televisions.
As the need for different types of displays grows, so will their versatility, size and shape – the growing use of flexible displays lead the way for curved displays. This will lead to bendable displays and those will bring about one of the most exciting – a foldable display…can you imagine having a smartphone with a 9-inch display for watching videos, browsing the internet or reading a book that will fold up to a 4.5-inch device to fit in your pocket! The pinnacle would end up being a ‘rollable’ display – although, how often you would want to roll up your 50-inch TV display for easy transportable, escapes me.
New designs of smartphones and tablets have been rather stagnant lately with a fixed and flat display. However, the flexible OLED displays have given way to the LG G Flex and G Flex 2 devices, where the entire smartphone is curved – body, battery and display. Then there are the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge and the new Galaxy S6 Edge devices, which feature the edge of the device curved downward to form what looks like a new panel of display. These two displays from LG and Samsung, fall in between the first (curved) and second (bended) stages. Right now, the two big areas of work are in the Transparent and Flexible displays.
Transparent displays can create a picture you can see while looking through the glass and is being partially used for commercial aircraft, fighter planes and billboards, not to mention on heads-up displays. A transparent refrigerator allows you to see what is inside and see an advertisement at the same time – not a big hit with homeowners, but they plan on using them in convenience stores in the near future. Imagine, the cooler trying to persuade you what to purchase while looking in at the products. A senior official from LG Display said on March 23, “The development of display technology that creates a virtual space on glass is already completed, and even a promotional prototype is available. However, it will take time until the product becomes commercialized due to mass production according to demand and stable supply.”
The other big field is the flexible display that will produce the same picture quality even if it is bent. The idea is to make the display as light and portable as possible. This will lead to foldable displays that Samsung Display said, “The industry believes that the commercialization of foldable smartphones will be possible in 2016.” Samsung has already made a foldable smartphone, shown behind the scenes at CES and caught on a video…and it looked pretty amazing. The future is now, the technology is advancing and will eventually expand to items we use in our everyday lives.