There has been no dearth of prototypes of some form or the other showcasing displays exhibiting varying degrees of flexibility. However, it’s only now that bendable display technology seems to have matured enough to make the transition to a commercial entity. Both Samsung and LG have come up with smartphone which they claim to incorporate flexible displays. Of course Samsung isn’t just stopping with the Galaxy Round smartphone device but has announced flexible displays will form a major chunk of their product portfolio starting 2014 onwards.
Unfortunately, Samsung isn’t revealing all its cards which leave a lot of questions unanswered. The broad picture that has emerged is that Samsung will be relying on transparent displays and touchscreen metal mesh panels for its future smartphones and tablets. The company is also reported to have filed a patent application for a transparent display that will have touch based controls both at the front and the rear. These apart, Samsung has also been showing off flexible and even bendable display quite regularly. This makes us wonder if the future Samsung device will in reality be bendable or flexible.
Meanwhile, LG has released a video showing just how flexible their G Flex smartphone really is. Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Round that bends vertically, the LG G Flex bends horizontally along the center. Also, with the G Flex, it is not just the display that is flexible but the entire smartphone device which is flexible. LG is claiming the device can even withstand forces of up to even 32 kilos directly on its rear before returning back to its original curved shape. What this means is that it is not the display alone but the entire smartphone construction that incorporates flexibility. Even the rear has been shown to be self-healing, having the ability to regain its original texture within minutes even after having been scratched vigorously.
As such, what is amply clear is that it is not just devices with flexible displays that are going to win the race but devices that as a whole exhibits flexibility, including the display. As for the benefits of such devices, there are many with the prime being that these are much better off in handling stress and strain. Theoretically, such a device will be able to withstand stress much longer than conventional LCD based devices though it also depends on the design and build of the specific device. Another advantage with flexible as seen on the Galaxy Round or G Flex is that they will have less glare on the eyes. Even Apple is believed to be considering incorporating flexible displays for its forthcoming iPhone 6 though its more wrap around in nature.
Other challenges that manufacturers will have to take in their stride is to come up with economic means of producing flexible devices in enough quantities. Currently the Galaxy Round has only been released on a limited scale which has seriously limited its wider availability. Let’s just hope such issues have been sorted out before companies takes to launch device with flexible displays.