While still conspicuous by its absence in the market, the concept of bendable or foldable displays has been piquing the interests of enthusiasts since a while now. There finally is something to chew on! At the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013, South Korean electronics giant Samsung raised the curtains on its flexible OLED display line – Youm. On stage at the event, Brian Berkeley, Senior VP, Samsung's San Jose Display Lab, noted, “Youm doesn't just bend the rules of display technologies, it completely rewrites them.” Berkeley went on to show curious attendees a prototype of the flexible OLED display, while claiming it wouldn’t break even if dropped. Berkeley added how his team had readied a prototype of high-resolution display on extremely thin plastic, instead of glass. Showing just how flexible the prototype display actually is, Berkeley bent it from side-to-side, amidst a whole round of applause.
This display can bend; won't break if dropped
Moving further, he demonstrated a prototype of a device with flexible display, showing audiences how the screen curves beyond the edge of display. Berkeley revealed how this new technology actually expanded the canvas available for content and also showed how content flowed along the sides of the device. This way, he said, there could be a whole new ecosystem of devices.
All that being said, folks at The Verge, who managed to get a quick hands-on on the prototype device, revealed that the “representatives were very reluctant to give us any specifications on the prototype.”
They found that “..the prototype isn't truly a phone — it lacks a radio, operating system, camera, and most any other feature you'd find in a phone. Instead, in its current form, the prototype is more like a touch-capable digital picture frame that uses a low-power processor to cycle through images of a mocked-up UI. The phone certainly feels like a prototype: it's poorly made of plastic, and it felt completely hollow within. We're skeptical of the utility of a flexible display on a phone, but it certainly makes for a cool tech demo.”
Among the many rumours surrounding the yet-to-be launched Samsung Galaxy S IV smartphone, there has been one about it featuring an unbreakable screen. Reports even suggested that if its true, it could turn out to be a major selling point of the smartphone – considering the converging form factor.
Considering the Youm entry now, it does seem like things are moving in this planned direction. Mark Newman, an analyst with Stanford Bernstein, even shared that eventually Samsung will go for unbreakable and flexible displays. “Either the Galaxy S IV or S V will have unbreakable and even possibly flexible and foldable displays by 2014. That's going to be a game-changer.”