The Kyocera Echo represents a remarkable effort towards making an Android phone that’s really something new, instead of a re-hash of an existing design. While the execution may not have lived up to our dreams, we really hope that doesn’t stifle innovation any, and that there are companies at work on new smartphones that do as much to challenge our expectations. One technology that may play a key role in some of these future phones is a new type of AMOLED display Samsung has developed, able to fold in half without ruining the screen.
Imagine a flip phone that unfolds to reveal a full 16:9 display; you could have a smartphone the size of the HP Veer without compromising on screen size. This new AMOLED tech would allow such a device to exist without any visible gap between screens, like you see on the Echo. Tests have shown the material to stand up to 100,000 fold-unfold cycles with only minimal damage to the screen: a mere 6% decrease in brightness along the fold.
While there would be other practical issues to solve, like how to deal with that crease when covering the screen in its glass facade, this is a big step forward from flexible AMOLEDs that would lose pixels over time to the stresses they endure. There are no estimations as to when you might see this type of thing in a commercial product, but keep your eyes peeled over the coming years.