Print 11 comment(s) - last by Paj.. on Mar 9 at 7:35 AM

Roll up smartphones coming next year?

We've seen patents for (and prototype) flexible displays before and Samsung has confirmed that it intends to start mass production of flexible displays late this year. Samsung intends to use those flexible displays on products in 2013. A new patent has surfaced today more focused on flexible displays with art that hints at some very interesting form factors for smartphones and other devices.
Foldable displays use plastic rather than glass as a substrate for the displays. The plastic allows a flexible display to be bent, folded, or rolled opening up the possibility of smartphones that are curved like bracelets or can be rolled up into a very thin profile. The patent in question showed images of just such a device with a screen that rolls up into a cylindrical holder.
The displays can into electronic newspapers, while keeping the same features that are used to in rigid screens. One of the benefits of these flexible screens compared to rigid screens will be very apparent to any smartphone user who has dropped their device and crushed the screen.
The flexible displays will be able to absorb the shock and bend rather than cracking and breaking, making a more robust screen that is lighter at the same time. According to the patent, the flexible display will be based on a substrate of flexible plastic, metal foil, thin glass, or other thin and flexible material. The patent also notes some the target products for the screens.
The patent reads that the screen can be implemented in any type of electronic device equipped with a display such as mobile phones, PDAs, MP3 players, computer displays, and notebook computers.
A tablet computer with a larger screen that can be rolled out when in use would be a very interesting device. The patent also shows off some interesting designs for e-readers that fold like a normal book. Samsung is clearly hoping flexible displays will be the next big thing in mobile computing; similar to the way the original iPhone pushed smartphones to embrace touch screens.. 

Source: Patentbolt

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I see that as a revolution for display
By kensiko on 3/7/2012 1:36:38 PM , Rating: 2
It will be very useful for many devices, like a watch

By MGSsancho on 3/7/2012 2:29:47 PM , Rating: 2
Wallpaper, attach to under my glass dining room table, use it atop the glass on picture frames (have regular picture of sunset and have the video (from the panel not print picture) of kids playing and fireworks), elevator panels, shop windows, hotel lobby doors, words like sexy and juicy and girls bottoms.

By ShaolinSoccer on 3/7/2012 5:28:13 PM , Rating: 1
By Paj on 3/9/2012 7:35:58 AM , Rating: 2
If it doesnt have touch functionality it's use would be rather limited I imagine.

Also, it could be annoying if it stays in a slightly rolled up shape when not pulled taut.

Would be great for window displays, AR situations and the like though.

Earth Final Conflict comes to mind
By JediJeb on 3/7/2012 2:43:37 PM , Rating: 3
This reminds me of the phones used on that show years ago, where they had a very narrow phone/PDA that had a section on the side that slid out to form a larger screen. I have been wondering how long it would be before someone would be able to make that work.

By Hakuryu on 3/7/2012 5:06:22 PM , Rating: 2
It has actually been done many times, but the best visual representation of how a flexible display should work was in the movie Red Planet with Val Kilmer (the one with the military bot that goes crazy).

They just pulled open a scroll looking item for a large flexible screen that was even transparent, so you could see waypoints in your real view (for example).

Children of Men also does a fantastic job with newspapers using flexible screens.

By retrospooty on 3/7/2012 12:43:29 PM , Rating: 2
I could see some really nice designs with something like this. Especially for professional use, kiosks etc.

They better get their patent down fast, before Apple copies it and claims they invented it first.

RE: Sweet.
By ProZach on 3/8/2012 9:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
For sure.

They would trademark it with a name like wrApple Display. The corresponding (non-free) app will also be a technical breakthrough: a high-definition picture of a man in a turtleneck. "Just flex the screen and watch Steve-o dance like a Worm(TM)."

Soooo, will this be touch sensitive?
By foolsgambit11 on 3/7/2012 6:10:48 PM , Rating: 2
And why? Seems your hands would be full holding it up and open. Unless you lay it on a flat surface, which makes having a flexible screen useful only because it saves space during travel. So we're back to using keys beside the screen for control. Huh.

By hankw on 3/7/2012 7:27:44 PM , Rating: 2
If they make a rigid frame that pulls out with the screen it would work. I'd prefer that anyways to ensure the screen doesn't flop around when using it.

By Amiga500 on 3/7/2012 12:43:15 PM , Rating: 2
To the beat!

That would be great - although it would obviously need a frame of some sort for operating usefully if you didn't have a table to put it on.

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