Curved displays on smartphones have finally hit the mainstream. Sure, you may not have one in your pocket just yet, but between models like the LG G Flex 2, Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, or the new Galaxy S6 Edge, there are more of these options out there now than ever before, and in full commercial form, no less – no longer constrained to industry trade shows. And while that’s all very cool, devices like those three are just one facet of the curved-display dream: what about phones we can outright bend? Not just a little bit either, like LG’s models will put up with: we’re talking full-on folding. The logistics of it sound daunting – even if you can bend the display substrate, what about the phone’s frame? The battery? The circuit boards within? We’re still waiting to see how those issues will be addressed, but solutions could be here sooner than you’d think, as Samsung points to next year for when such phones could finally prove commercially possible.
Mind you, this is Samsung Display making these comments, and not the arm directly responsible for building the company’s phones, but it’s still adamant that flexible smartphones should be possible with 2016’s tech. Does that mean we’ll be seeing a Galaxy smartphone that folds right down the middle for easy storage? It’s incredibly early to speculate about how a foldable handset might arrive, and especially with a first-gen model, we could be in for some significant limitations (bend radius, for instance). That said, Samsung wouldn’t be commenting publicly like this if it were setting itself up for failure.
Beyond phones with foldable displays, firms like LG have been working on new transparent screens, offering a window straight through your handset when not in use. Again, it sounds like there could be big practical barriers in the way of bringing such tech to phones (and LG declines to present an ETA for a commercial model), but we’re well curious to see what kind of prototypes might emerge in the months and years to come.