A major step on the path to more flexible phone form factors
Flexible OLED displays have been around for a few years now, however their implementations in consumer devices have so far been limited to putting the flexible panel behind a rigid piece of protective glass. Samsung Display has just announced the next step up from that: a flexible OLED panel that has a transparent plastic cover already attached, emulating the properties of glass but retaining the screen’s innate flexibility. Without the need for glass, this screen has proven rugged enough to be certified by UL (formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories) for its durability.
Samsung, describing the new panel as unbreakable, reports that it has withstood UL’s military-standards tests of 26 successive drops from a height of 1.2 meters (close to 4 feet) as well as extreme temperatures as high as 71 degrees Celsius (159.8°F) and as low as -32 degrees Celsius (-25.6°F). The OLED display “continued to function normally with no damage to its front, sides, or edges,” we’re told, and Samsung even went further by performing a successful drop test from 1.8 meters (6 feet). No mass production date just yet
Obviously developed primarily for smartphones, this new flexible OLED panel will also be offered for use in other electronic devices such as portable game consoles, military devices, e-learning tablets, and in-car displays. Samsung Display isn’t offering a timeline for when we might expect a release of any products with the supposedly unbreakable OLED panel inside them, and it has yet to announce mass production of the new component. So while the new screen sounds exciting, we should probably restrain our enthusiasm until it gets closer to showing up in real devices.