While foldable smartphones are still in their nascent form, Samsung is expected to unveil the world’s first “stretchable OLED” display at the Society for Information Display (SID) 2017. According to a report from Korea Herald, the South Korean tech giant will showcase a 9.1-inch panel at the SID 2017 in Los Angeles. SID 2017 is hosted by the Society for Information Display US and is a technology fair which will be held from May 23 to May 25 2017.
“While current flexible OLED is able to be transformed in only one side, this stretchable OLED can be transformed- whether curved, bent [sic] or rolled- in both sides, above and below, ” a Samsung spokesperson told the Korean Herald. Samsung also reportedly told the South Korean outlet that the display when pressed would be abl to bend up to 12 mm and in either way can be curved or rolled. This could potentially be used in wearables, phones that could be folded and automobiles. Reports also speculate that the ‘product’ could likely be used on those devices that adopt Internet of Things (IoT) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. Samsung’s spokesperson, however, said that the technology is still in the preliminary stages of ‘research and development’ which means that stretchable smartphones will take few more years to turn into reality.
Notably, tech companies have submitted several patents for stretchable and flexible displays over the past few months. Samsung back in June last year filed a patent application titled “Electronic Device with Flexible Display” with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The application under the patent number US 9,557,771 B2 showed a device with an inward folding display that is supported by a mechanical hinge in the middle.
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Apple had also reportedly submitted a patent in February this year for a stretchable “input/output device”. The Korean Herald in 2015 reported that a foldable smartphone dubbed as ‘Galaxy X’ will be announced in the third quarter 2017. The publication in April this year noted that the company is restraining from releasing a foldable smartphone until the ‘technology’ matures, while its ‘bezel-free’ display accrues healthy profits. “Because the bezel-free display currently sells well, we still have enough time to develop foldable display. The technology is expected to be mature around 2019,” Kim Tae-woong, Samsung Display’s principal engineer, said at the Display TechSalon (via Korean Herald) held in Seoul.