It is very seldom to see a remarkable new technology but it finally seems that this kind of technology can be a reality soon, thanks to Samsung's foldable phone.
After two decades of work, Samsung is rumoured to be getting ready for the launch of the first ever flexible smartphone. The company's head of mobile recently said it was "time to deliver" such a phone, and that the development process for it was "nearly concluded".
But, perhaps more significantly, the Samsung Display division of the company recently said it had developed an “unbreakable smartphone panel” that had passed rigorous safety testing. Even after being subjected to temperatures of 71˚C and -32˚C, and dropped from a height of 1.8 metres, the display showed no signs of damage and functioned normally.
This display is a flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED) panel made of an unbreakable surface with a plastic overlay window attached to it, making it simultaneously lightweight and tough as glass but a lot more robust. Manufacturers have yearned for many years to make displays with flexible, bendable properties and a paper-like feel with electronic functionality. If Samsung has truly found a way to protect a flexible OLED then it has solved a major technical challenge in removing the need for the glass screens used on most other displays today.
Samsung's flexible OLED screen is likely to have the most basic level of flexibility, with the ability to be bent and curved without distorting the display but not completely folded. The level of flexibility might be increased as the nanotechnology in the screens improves, as the nanowires used to carry electricity through the displays become more flexible at smaller diameters.
In the future, we may eventually see rollable displays that can be like a scroll, but the most advanced type of flexible screen will be one that can be folded or even crushed like a sheet of paper and still produce seamless images. The latest and most exciting idea for creating these screens is to use new "auxtetic" materials, which become thicker as they are stretched rather than thinner.
In the meantime, maybe within a year, we could be able to see a screen that will not damage in your back pocket.