Samsung: Flexible Displays Coming to Smartphones This Year

by: Bogdan PetrovanMarch 1, 2012

Samsung Flexible OLEDIt’s no secret that Samsung is working hard on producing flexible OLED displays, and that the Koreans eventually want to put bendable displays in all kinds of gadgets, from wristwatches to big screen TVs. Over the last year or so, we got to see all kind of crazy displays from Sammy, including bended displays (how would you like a round-shaped smartphone?), semitransparent screens, and even futuristic paper-like OLED screens.

Flexible Displays Are Moving Out of Beta

Samsung first announced their plans to put flexible OLEDs into real products back in June 2011. Then, in October, a Samsung spokesman confirmed that 2012 will be the year when flexible displays finally move out of beta. To produce the new class of displays, the Koreans are building an entire new plant, which is expected to begin fabrication in the second quarter of 2012. Here’s a demo video, courtesy of PhoneArena:

Yesterday, a Samsung executive offered us yet another confirmation that flexible OLEDs are on track for a 2012 debut. A Korean VP told the press that products with flexible screens are coming “within a year”. Hopefully, this means that we’ll be able to twist our phones later this year, or in the worst case, in the first quarter of 2013. The technology will first be introduced in smartphones, and later sized up or down for other applications, including wearable computers, tablets, or even TVs.


What Will the Flexible Screen Devices Look Like?

So what does Samsung plan to do with those crazy bendable OLEDs? I mean the concept is fantastic, but how will it play with the constraints of a modern smartphone? As it turns out, there is a difference between a flexible display and a bendable display. A flexible OLED screen does not necessarily bend as a sheet of paper. Remember Nokia’s demonstration of a flexible smartphone that you can control by twisting? That’s probably what Samsung has in mind when talking about flexible display.

The flexible AMOLED display technology looks like a glimpse of the future, but for now, its potential is limited by the other components that make up a smartphone, such as batteries and chips. So it’s not likely that we will see a truly bendable device in the near future. But even if you can’t roll it or bend it, a flexible display has its advantages. Most importantly, smartphones fitted with flexible AMOLEDs will be incredibly resistant to shock, almost unbreakable. How’s that possible? Flexible AMOLED replace the traditional glass substrate with a polyamide, a type of bendable plastic that doesn’t shatter.

Another advantage of flexible substrates is the fact that you can bend them, which makes round displays easy to manufacture. When the technology becomes cheap enough for mass production, we expect to see a flurry of wacky circular devices incorporating OLED screens.

What Would you Like to See?

So, flexible AMOLED screens are very real and are indeed coming soon to smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets. How would you like to see the technology implemented? A wearable wrist computer? A draw-out flexible screen that you can pull out of your smartphone? A foldable tablet? Go crazy and let us know!

  • MobiTily Forum

    thats great,if samsung comes with flexible phones,other OEMS will surely jump into this also,as that what it is happening.dont know u call it competetion or studpidity.


  • wonshikee

    plastic would be easy to scratch, but unbreakable screen would be appealing

  • Raz

    will it sport a LED display..?

  • riskotyndall

    I personally cannot see this being practical on a phone! Samsung should focus on smart phones that are faster and more efficient. I know that they have been working on the flexible l.e.d screens for a while but i think they should only be for large home theaters or computer monitors that are in your face. A bendable smart phone? okay maybe if they push it and also make it a phone that when its on a dock or attached to a monitor it boots up ubuntu, because i like the whole pocket pc idea a lot more than a silly phone that turns into a watch. I want a device that is not just my phone, but my computer too, then i wont have to buy both! but hell thats just me im sure there are some little kids out there that are super stoked about the concept of bendable devices. i like the nokia kenetic concept, but only if its gonna dual boot.

  • Kevin

    I honestly don’t see the point in having a flexible phone. It seems kinda silly to me. I rather stay with a non flexible phone.

  • Will4060

    The other thing is that they are way more efficient, way tougher,and way thinner than lcd screens. How is that not a good thing to put rescources toward?

  • Neal

    I’m not sure what to think about this. Thumbs up for coming up with this new tech, but on the downside, how will this be practical?

  • Don

    Wow… So many people are commenting that they would not see it as part of their lives? This is HUGE! No more bending devices that break! I would assume that most if not all of you do not have kids? Imagine the kids are playing and that wonderful nerf sword smacks your LED big screen. That’s why kids can’t play rough in the house… Too many “breakables”. Now the screen flexes with the impact… no shattered screens. Imagine you are going to sit down at your favorite restaurant and oops you forgot your phone was in your back pocket. Guess what you didn’t crack the screen! Windows in the home can now act as a screen giving you the latest weather and other information without interfering with the natural light going into the house. There is an endless world of possibilities here. To me the “nay-sayers” (pardon the spelling) sound the people of olden times when Television was introduced. “Why would I want my radio to stare back at me?”

    To you out there I ask… Why NOT make a system that is flexible?

    • GrandMasterFlash

      how many kids toys do you see extremely flexible to stop it from breaking? Infact all kids toys are industrial…like they all have otter boxes. Striking a highly flexible item still will make it crack and break.

  • GrandMasterFlash

    This is where a company like Apple or 3M is different. They take inventions like this and actually turn it into something useful. A better application for a flexible screen is if it’s so flexible that you can fold it. This way if it’s opened up like a book, you will have twice the real estate. Imagine unfolding a phone and it becomes tablet sized! Can’t wait.