Are you ready for a new wave of digital device innovation? If so, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on Samsung this year. The company showed off prototypes of its Youm line of flexible, virtually unbreakable organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays at the 2013 CES on Thursday.
One of the prototypes shown off was a small tablet-like device with a wraparound flexible screen, which had an increased amount of content space due to the screen being able to wrap around the edges. Samsung also showed off a video of concept products including a smartphone that could be opened up to form a tablet with twice the screen size.
Production issues had reportedly forced Samsung to pull back its plans for Youm after it demoed a phone with a flexible OLED screen at CES 2012. Vinita Jakhanwal, research director at IHS iSuppli, states that “Samsung has it out on its roadmap to have something out in 2013.” If this is true, Samsung could see a huge boost in device innovation from wearable consumer electronics to military uses or anything that would want to have a bendy, flexible screen.
Samsung is just one of many companies that have been experimenting and showing off flexible screens in one form or another for the past decade. The biggest hurdles manufacturers have had are making the screens work well and transitioning from prototype to product. Consumers are going to want products that will last through normal use, which includes bending a flexible screen thousands of times without breaking.
While it’s unlikely we’d see a full-feature mobile device with a flexible screen in mass production in the near future, it appears that Samsung is very likely to showcase such products first.