Samsung is known to be working on the development of flexible displays for several years and has only been able to materialize it by integrating curved edges into its smartphones. While a completely bendable and flexible device is still nowhere in sight, the Korean giant has moved a step ahead to develop ‘stretchable’ displays.
This will be a first-of-its-kind display and is expected to be unveiled at a U.S technology fair, called Society for Information Display 2017 (SID 2017) later this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Korea Herald (and Yonhap News) both suggest that the Korean giant will showcase 9.1-inch variants of stretchable OLED (organic light-emitting diode) panels at the conference.
As for the specifications, there is only one prominent feature of the display that’s being touted about in several reports across the web. The flexible displays currently being built by Samsung can only be bent or folded in particular direction while the stretchable OLED panels are said to be bendable both ways — in and out. It has been decribed in the reports as under:
Commenting on the same, a Samsung Display spokesperson said,
While current flexible OLED is able to be transformed in only one side, this stretchable OLED can be transformed — whether curved, bended or rolled — in both sides, above and below.
Several analysts believe that Samsung’s display technology is far more advanced than its competitors, like LG. They are calling the stretchable display as the ‘ultimate product in flexible technology,’ which has been built using a far superior technology than those used by its competitors. The Korean giant also touted about one of the capabilities of the display saying that the stretchable display is like a balloon and can stretch as much as 12 millimeters in one direction. According to the report, it will mostly be employed in:
[It] can be stretched to be used for various high technologies, including wearable display, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and automobile display.
The Korean giant will take center stage to showcase its innovation but the stretchable technology is still in early stages of research and development. There is presently no information on when the said OLED displays will make their way to smartphones or other hand-held devices. Samsung, however, has already registered a cohort of patents for flexible devices, ranging from foldable ones to completely rolled ones.
As for the market of flexible displays, a report from IHS mentions that revenues from flexible displays is expected to increase more than 300 percent, from just $3.7 billion in 2016 to $15.5 billion in 2022. The flexible displays are expected to account for at least 13 percent of the market revenue in the next three years. It further adds that fully-foldable form factors are expected to debut over the next two years, which seems like a plausible time schedule for the same.