Samsung Has A Stretchable Display It Will Show Off Soon
But don't expect to buy a device with a strechable screen any time soon. Samsung said in a statement that "this prototype technology is difficult to mass produce at this time, and we are unable to say when it could be released to the marketplace." And then there's the question of how to make the rest of the device stretchable, although researchers have come up with at least one design for a stretchable battery as well.
Samsung has a stretchable display it will show off soon
Samsung is reportedly going to show off tablet-sized 9.1-inch versions of the display soon, with plans for wearables, phones, cars and IoT connected devices. This new technology is still in the early stages of research and development though, so don't expect it to pop up in consumer devices anytime soon.
The South Korean tech giant will showcase a 9.1-inch (23cm) panel at the Society for Information Display 2017 in Los Angeles, which will be held from May 23 to 25, reports the Korea Herald(Opens in a new tab).
Already, though, there have been a gamut of patents from tech companies surrounding stretchable and flexible displays. Apple submitted a patent in February this year for a stretchy "input/output device" -- essentially, a stretchable iPhone -- while Samsung has been rumoured for a while to be working on a "Galaxy X" smartphone that would expand into a tablet.
Foldable displays could soon be passe what with Samsung now showing what it has termed as a stretchable OLED display. Samsung showcased its latest innovation in display tech at the Global Tech Korea 2021 event where it had a 13-inch OLED panel to show off. As Android Central reported, what made the OLED panel special is that it has stretchable qualities at certain angles.
Interestingly, the demo display had a video of lava flowing along with different sections of the display rising to mimic a bubble forming and then dissipating on its own the next instant. The stretchable quality of the display also made the video all the more realistic and made it seem like its lava really flowing by.
This way, the stretchable display can bring about a new dimension when it comes to displaying 3D content, to some extent at least. Changhee Lee, executive vice president of Samsung Display said the display exhibited stretchability to a significantly higher degree than the around 5 percent that was possible with display technology available in the past. The company had earlier showed off a stretchable display back in 2017 though that was with a smaller 9.1-inch panel.
For a long, long time rivals LG and Samsung have shown off their respective flexible displays at technology shows and in futuristic marketing videos, but those bendable screens might soon be more than just show things.
But LG hasn't necessarily won the flexible display race. The company's announcement comes as Samsung is rumored to announce a phone with a bendable screen soon. According to various sources, Samsung has been gearing up to announce its Galaxy Round in Korea, the first smartphone with a flexible display.
Samsung did not respond to ABC News' request for comment on the Galaxy Round rumors. However, the device isn't supposed to be fully flexible. Samsung told Reuters in September that the display will be \"curved\" with some rigidity to the shell of the phone. There were also rumors that Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch would ship with a bendable screen. However, the watch has a normal, rigid LCD display. Apple has been rumored to be working on a curved-glass smartwatch, called the iWatch.
Both LG's announcement and the rumors of Samsung's phone set up an interesting future for our big- and small-screened gadgets. Curved displays will enable more comfortable wearable devices and compact tablets and computers.
South Korea's Samsung and China's Oppo were among several smartphone makers showing off devices that can fold in various ways, often doubling a user's screen size in an instant. Samsung had its Galaxy Z Fold range on display, while Oppo was showing off its Fold N.
Anshel Sag, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, told CNBC that Apple will likely launch a flexible device when when durability is no longer an issue and the display technologies have come down in cost.
Brian Berkeley, the senior vice president of Samsung's display lab in San Jose, Calif., held up a prototype of a phone that has one of these displays that's bent around the side of the phone, so you can see updates on the side. The technology will let the company's partners make bendable, rollable, and foldable displays, he said.
Flexible display technology has been cooking at Samsung for a while now -- the company showed off a display prototype, sans phone, at CES 2011. Samsung slapped the Youm brand name on the technology last spring.
During its CES 2013 keynote presentation, Samsung showed a concept video of just how flexible Youm displays could be. The video started out with three actors in a coffee shop, one of whom folds up his high-tech wallet phone thing -- imagine a tablet that folds like a bifold wallet. Another one breaks out a tablet that rolls out from something the size of a handheld voice recorder.
Samsung may release two smartphones with bendable OLED screens in 2017, according to a new report from Bloomberg Technology. "People familiar with the matter" claim that one model is a flip phone that folds in half, not unlike Samsung's China-only SM-W2016, while the second will feature a 5-inch display that "unfurls" into a tablet-sized 8-inch panel. The devices could appear as soon as February, when Mobile World Congress takes place in Barcelona.
Samsung did, however, showcase its foldable display technology at SID Display Week 2016, with Slashgear capturing the display in action. According to the site, when fully opened the 5.7-inch 1080p display is just 0.3mm thin, and can be rolled into a tube with a 10mm radius. The display shown didn't feature a touch layer, which would likely add to the overall thickness and reduce the display's flexibility.
Samsung has also filed numerous patents for foldable devices and flexible screens over the past few years. The latest, revealed just over a week ago by Patently Mobile, shows what looks like a standard Galaxy phone with a charge port-hiding hinge in the middle that allows the phone to fold in half. While patents of this type don't necessarily mean Samsung will release such a device, they do indicate the company is at least actively researching along these lines.
In January 2011, Samsung purchased Liquivista, a strategic acquisition that will allow it to produce the kinds of displays that were announced today. Liquivista made electrowetting display technology, which is used to create mobile and other consumer electronic displays that are bright, low-power, flexible and transparent.
More recently, Sony, in particular, has shown some interesting work in the field, demonstrating its first flexible display at CES in early 2009 and showing off advanced, thinner, more flexible displays just last year.
The device was white and black with a display around 5-inches in size and close to a 720p resolution, but it had slanted edge where Samsung attempted to show that manufacturers can use the flexible space to highlight features. As you can see in the picture above, the flexed part of the display has S-note and Messaging icons, along with a text message or box for scrolling text, like a ticker.
Dubbed Free-Form Displays, the latest announcement from LG Display shows a futuristic 12-inch stretchable display that can be stretched, pulled, twisted, and bent without any physical damage. Unlike foldable displays on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 or others, Free-Form Displays from LG will stretch and can be subjected to twists and turns without any issue.