Foldable, flexible, and transparent displays have been around for a while now, but they remain pure concepts rather than actual products. Despite all the curved smartphones that have come out in 2014 and 2015, we still haven’t seen a truly flexible or bendable phone. Now, a report from Business Korea hints that a fully foldable smartphone could hit the market as early as 2016 from none other than Samsung.
An official from Samsung Display told the publication that although foldable screens may seem highly futuristic, the time is right for this mind-bending technology. “The industry believes that the commercialization of foldable smartphones will be possible in 2016,” the unnamed official stated.
Of course, that’s not necessarily a promise that a smartphone you can fold up into a square and tuck in your pocket will arrive in 2016. After all, even though the screens may be ready to bend and fold without breaking, other components, such as processors, batteries, and cameras, may not be quite so flexible.
In spite of all this optimism, truly foldable phones are likely still the stuff of science fiction.
Not to mention the fact that Samsung said the same thing last year, hinting that a foldable phone would come out in 2015. Maybe the official was then referring to the Galaxy Note Edge, but that’s far from foldable — it’s merely curved to one side. So despite all this optimism, truly foldable phones are likely still the stuff of science fiction.
Still, it’s fun to imagine a world filled with flexible screens. As one industry official told the publication, “When flexible display technology is being used in e-books and laptops, which are substituted for publications, the concept of tiny portable PCs and e-books will be realized in reality.”
The report also commented on LG’s transparent screens, which have been used on prototype TV-like screens at numerous trade shows. Although this technology could eventually end up on car windows, refrigerators, and elsewhere (meaning everywhere), it isn’t quite ready for prime time yet.
“The development of display technology that creates a virtual space on glass is already completed, and even a promotional prototype is available,” an LG official said. “However, it will take time until the product becomes commercialized due to mass production according to demand and stable supply.”
Regardless of when these technologies arrive, we can indeed enjoy contemplating how they will change the way we use our devices and interact with our appliances.