Home / Technology / Gadgets /  Foldable screens: The future of smartphones

Consumer-tech companies have been experimenting with flexible screens for a while. While many have managed to offer curved screens in televisions (TVs), and in even smartphones, these screens are curved at certain angles during the manufacturing process and cannot be bent later by the end user. Further, they are not designed to withstand the daily rigours of folding a screen.

This is where Samsung’s flexible screen phone and LG’s rollable TV can be the game changers. Foldable screens in phones can change the way users interact with their phones. It will give users access to much bigger tablet-sized screens in the same form-factor. Users can use the entire screen to run content that requires a bigger screen, or use the two screens to run separate content pieces for multi-tasking.

While LG’s rollable TV is still a concept, Samsung’s flexible smartphone may arrive very soon. Reports suggest that Samsung’s flip-based smartphone will be rolling out next year. The screen is made of an unbreakable substrate of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) with a layer of flexible plastic over it. This makes it less susceptible to cracking when folded, compared to regular displays, which are typically covered in glass. The screen has also been certified by Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a testing firm for the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Chinese firm BOE has developed a 7.56 inch foldable active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) display, which can bend 100,000 times without breaking. Huawei is expected to use these screens in its phones. China’s Royole showed a wearable with a flexible OLED screen. Taiwanese firm AU Optronics Corp. has developed a 5 inch AMOLED display, which bends more than 1.5 million times without breaking.

Abhijit Ahaskar
Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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