Who isn't worried about the screen of their smartphone? Countless people crack their delicate touch screens each and every day, leading to crazy repair charges or worse: total replacement of the screen altogether.
LG hopes to make breaking your screen a little tougher with their latest technology: the flexible OLED display. The company announced the device is likely to be launched in Q4 2013, according to an announcement it made during its financial results call.
They aren't discussing details, but it is possible the device will resemble a prototype of a Samsung smartphone the company showed off in January of this year, where the screen extended over the edges of the device.
They did not disclose the name of the prototype device, nor did they release details about how it worked. They did state, however, that the screen measured five inches across, and has a resolution of 720p, and 16:9 aspect ratio. They also did not call it a "phone." The first prototype was merely a digital picture frame of sorts, relying on a low-power processor to go through pictures of a mocked-up UI.
Reviewers at The Verge say the prototype was built horribly, as any good prototype comes across. It appeared to be made poorly and out of plastic, with nothing at all inside. Although it was a pretty cool concept, The Verge didn't feel any device with a flexible screen made a whole lot of sense.
Regardless, Samsung is on the job to make this dream a reality. They plan to incorporate the OLED technology featured in their smart television sets and smartphones into flexible plastic displays. They are looking to bring a highly durable device to the market, which would set them apart from other offerings as most innovative.
Atmel Also On The Job
Atmel is another company working on flexible touch screen technology. The company manufactures hardware used in Samsung, Acer, and LG devices and showed off their XSense flexible touchscreen about a year ago. Beyond the flexible tablets and smartphones Atmel envisions these screens being used in, the company discussed them being used in other ways, like in coffee machines and watches.
How did they do it? Atmel used a "proprietary roll-to-roll metal mesh technology." It relies on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) rather than the traditional plastics which are more rigid and stiff.
Nokia is another company that has released a prototype flexible device, allowing users to twist and bend the screen to perform actions like zoom and scroll.
A Good Idea?
From TVs to tablets and smartphones, it appears the race to the next big idea is on. LG plans to make not only a flexible touch screen phone, but a curved-screen OLED TV in the second half of 2013. The head of LG's mobile marketing department, Won Kim, as indicated that something "different" and "unique" is on its way at the end of this year, although it isn't clear what.
What do you think about flexible devices?