All You Need To Know About The Technology Behind Foldable Displays

Smartphones are speeding towards a big technological leap after years of incremental improvements: folding displays.

Foldable phones have been around the corner for years: we’ve seen patents, prototypes, manufacturing, and rumors. Heck, Samsung’s mobile chief has even talked openly about the company’s progress with foldable displays. 2016 was seen as the beginning of foldable phone commercialization.

The flexible phone chatter of the last few months has had a different feel, though. It looks like 2019 could be the year the floodgates open. Also, 2019 could be the year of the trend for foldable smartphones like 18:9 display trend was in 2017 and notch trend in 2018. In this post, you will know about the technology behind foldable displays!

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The Technology Behind Foldable Displays

A Flexible display is an electronic visual display which is flexible in nature; as opposed to the more prevalent traditional flat screen displays used in most electronics devices. In recent years there has been a growing interest from numerous consumer electronics manufacturers to apply this display technology in e-readers, mobile phones, and other consumer electronics.

Flexible electronic paper (e-paper) based displays were the first flexible displays conceptualized and prototyped. Though this form of flexible displays has a long history and was attempted by many companies, it is only recently that this technology began to see commercial implementations slated for mass production to be used in consumer electronic devices.

Also, research and development into flexible OLED displays largely began in the late 2000s with the main intentions of implementing this technology in mobile devices. However, this technology has recently made an appearance, to a moderate extent, in consumer television displays as well.

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Flexible displays using electronic paper technology commonly use Electrophoretic or Electrowetting technologies. However, each type of flexible electronic paper varies in specification due to different implementation techniques by different companies. Many of the e-paper based flexible displays are based on OLED technology and its variants. Though this technology is relatively new in comparison with e-paper based flexible displays, implementation of OLED flexible displays saw considerable growth in the last few years.

Since 2010 Sony ElectronicsAU Optronics and LG Electronics have all expressed interest in developing flexible e-paper displays. However, only LG has formally announced plans for mass production of flexible e-paper displays.

Plastic has foldable properties and technology innovations are the foundational elements of bendable mobile devices. Flexible displays are based on the use of a soft polyimide plastic material that doesn’t get damaged or shattered if folded in two. Presently, the rectangular form of a phone is predetermined by touch-based interaction with a glass-based display and a group of standard screen sizes for effortless use of the phone as a computerized device.

Why are the flexible displays not yet consumerized?

A company called ROYOLE developed the world’s thinnest 0.01mm full-color flexible display in 2014 which is not yet completed as a commercial product, due to its expensive manufacturing cost and lack of base materials, instruments…etc. While making a flexible display they have to think about many components like conductors, semiconductors, insulators, and barriers which are combined into a very thin display. So if we change even a single component we may have to change everything to make them compatible with each other. All these factors play a key role in the delay of the production of the consumer ready flexible displays. If these barriers are cleared, then flexible displays would be ready for mass production.

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Some Proposed Gadgets Which May Come With Foldable Displays

Samsung Galaxy X

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Revealed in an official teaser, and then reportedly receiving a release date in 2019, the Galaxy X is one of the most exciting of the incoming foldable phones. According to reports out of Korea, the X is extra interesting as it supposedly has three screens instead of two, essentially delivering a device that transitions from a phone to tablet.

The front of the Galaxy X reportedly has two 3.5-inch screens, which become a 7-inch tablet when folded. The rear of the device has a third 3.5-inch screen that allows it to be viewed even when folded down. This indicates that the device will work via a series of intricate hinges.

In terms of release date, we’ve speculated that the Galaxy X will launch in the months following Mobile World Congress, or at the same event as the Galaxy S10, which will almost certainly be held in February 2019.

Huawei Folding Phone

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CEO of Huawei, Richard Yu, confirmed that the Chinese maker already had a working prototype of a flexible smartphone, and then in March of this year, patent diagrams of a foldable Huawei phone emerged.

The patent refers to the device simply as “foldable smartphone”, but clearly shows a book-like phone that can be opened up to create a larger tablet, with a smart Surface Book 2-style hinge connecting each of the folder’s two screens.

The idea of carrying around both a high powered phone and tablet in one, though, is tantalizing, and we hope that Samsung, Apple, Motorola, LG, or Huawei can deliver.

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Wrapping Up…

Yes. The foldable phone is the future of smartphone, all thanks to technology. The smartphone would feature a bendable-infinity display and could be the breakthrough to make smartphones more interactive, innovative and, interesting again.

For sure, the foldable smartphone will come in the near future and Samsung could be the first one to introduce this. With the bendable smartphone, we can wear the phone on our wrist while going outside and that will be easy to handle.

By 2020, flexible screens are predicted to make as much as 50% of the display market. The development of flexible displays won’t fully terminate glass-based technology screens since they play an important role in television apps. Instead, bendable displays will give rise to new formats of tablets and smartphones. The foldable technology, though looking futuristic, will cost approximately the same as a current display technology used in smartphones and tablets.

Debobrata Deb

Written by Debobrata Deb

He has always been interested in technology, especially knowing deeply about computers or gadgets since childhood. Gathering and sharing more and more knowledge relating to awesomeness is what he always like to do.