Samsung and LG will ship flexible displays for mobile devices in November
Flexible displays are the latest craze in the mobile world. Well, not for the present but for the near future. For a very, very long while we’ve been hearing that they’re just around the corner, yet so far they’ve just been vaporware (flexible vaporware, though, right?).
Wondering when we first heard about flexible displays coming to a smartphone near you? In 2007. That’s right, six years ago. And for six years, we’ve undoubtedly gotten closer to this tech becoming reality, but not close enough, apparently.
Many seem to think that flexible displays will be the next major innovation in the mobile space (the previous one being capacitive touchscreens, we assume). But things are never as simple as such blanket statements make them out to be.
One way or the other, we’re about to find out whether flexible displays really are the future or not (’cause let’s not forget, at one point 3D screens for smartphones were considered the next big thing). That’s because both LG and Samsung’s respective display-manufacturing arms are set to start shipping their first flexible displays in November. This is according to a report from ETNews Korea, which quotes “the industry”.
Now before you think that the next flagship smartphone you’ll buy will roll up like a scroll, well, chill for a second. It’s a lot more likely that these first panels will be ‘flexible’ in that their maker will be able to bend them into one specific position. See? It’s all a bit misleading. Flexible, yes, but not through any action taken by you, the end-user.
Still, ‘bended’ screens (that seems the most appropriate actual definition) do sound interesting, and frankly a lot more usable than actual flexible ones. The problem, then? As usual when making a new bit of tech (be it screens or silicon things), yields. Oh, and production capacity.
Even if Samsung, for example, gets 100% yield, it will only be able to make 1 to 1.5 million 5 to 6 inch panels per month. Those are good figures for a niche offering, but incredibly small ones for a flagship device. Oh, and one more thing – 100% yields will probably be impossible to achieve, so those numbers should drop even more.
To make this easier: will there be a Samsung Galaxy S5 on the market in December with a flexible display? Short answer: no. But Samsung (and LG) may release one handset (each) with such a ‘bended’ screen, a niche offering (perhaps through insanely high pricing), and see how things go from there. If the market reacts positively to the new screen tech, then these two companies will invest in quickly expanding their production capacities.
The new bendy, flexible displays will be incredibly thin, and as they won’t use glass but plastic should also be a lot more durable than what we see today shoved into high-end smartphones. And while manufacturers will use the term “unbreakable” a lot about these panels, you shouldn’t take that 100% seriously. However, they will be more drop-proof than their currently available predecessors, that’s for sure.
Via Android Beat