A new video has been uploaded to YouTube by OLED-Info showing off a prototype for an AMOLED display technology created by the Taiwanese Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) that a could allow for truly foldable devices. It bears mention that this display has not currently been backed by any kind of touch panel and isn't shown with anything actually displaying on-screen. Bearing that in mind, the functionality imagined by the institute shows that quite a lot of innovation could stem from folding displays in the future. More significantly, it shows that folding handsets and tablets are not necessarily out of reach.
Examining the displays themselves, those are said to be foldable up to 200,000 times. That's impressive, even with consideration for how addicted everybody seems to be to their smartphones. In fact, they should last for several years even in the hands of the most tech-savvy individuals, leaving plenty of time for when consumers are holding between device refreshes and contract updates. The screens are also resistant to scratches and other similar damage, so users wouldn't necessarily need to be quite so worried about a screen protector. They can reportedly withstand around two pounds of pressure behind friction from steel wool over 50,000 times. There isn't really much to compare that with and it may or may not be all that impressive. However, it's important because further innovation in the materials used for those would be required for the tech to move mainstream otherwise. Current films and glasses simply can't handle being bent and unbent so many times before wearing out. Perhaps even more vitally, that durability is something that current OEMs working on folding displays haven't accomplished yet.
It goes without saying that the success or failure of folding panels across the board will be dependent on whether or not a touch-panel can be created that can keep up. Beyond the flexibility of the materials, there are other concerns as well. Whether or not the pixels in the displays will be able to handle folding without being damaged is one of the bigger ones. Whether or not screens such as that shown by ITRI can be brought to market is reliant on those other innovations. In the meantime, at least it appears that some of the larger problems with the panels themselves have been solved.