Current implementations of flexible displays are underwhelming. Devices like the Galaxy Round, LG G Flex, and even the new Note Edge are interesting, but they’re not the exciting new form factors that companies developing flexible displays have been promising.
For now, behold the tri-foldable display developed by SEL of Japan, that shows a way devices of the future could transform and adapt to our needs.
Showcased at the Display Innovation 2014 event in Yokohama, this 8.7-inch Full HD flexible panel can be folded over 100,000 times at a radius of 2-3 millimeters, without it affecting the viewing experience. The panel, which includes a touchscreen, is just 100 microns thick and uses a white OLED with color filters setup. The bulky plastic margins are just used to showcase the folding feature.
A display like this could be used to create a smartphone that effortlessly unfolds into a 9-inch tablet. Manufacturers will have to figure out answers to numerous problems first, but with billions at stake, it’s probably just a matter of time until designs like this hit the market.
SEL (Semiconductor Energy Laboratory) is a Japanese company established in 1980 that researches, develops, and license electronics technologies. This foldable panel isn’t the first newsworthy accomplishment of the company, which recently showcased a foldable smartphone screen, a 1058ppi 2.8-inch AMOLED display, a 13-inch 8K AMOLED panel, and a technology for creating transparent display bezels.
The driving forces of flexible displays are Samsung and LG, but Japanese companies like Sharp and Sony are also working on developing related technologies. It’s likely that SEL will sell its technology to one these large players, which have the resources and manufacturing power to bring them to market. LG recently talked to the WSJ about its own plans for foldable and semi-transparent displays – read the details here.