Smartphones are great multi-functional devices able to replace the functions of cameras, torches, navigation units, media players, organisers and voice recorders. The only device they have trouble replacing is the personal computer. Why? The screen is too small! Luckily, flexible smartphone screens are coming.
It was just last year that LG-Philips had released the first A4 sized colour e-paper after many releases of smaller-sized, black and white screens. Following this, Sony responded with their own 0.3mm thick e-paper.
Move forward a year and in October, Sony showed some improvements they had made on their flexible OLED screens through research. Though, research was expected to pick up after the announcement that the problem regarding the lifespan of the colour blue had been worked out.
Pick up it did. Recently, researchers at the Taiwanese based Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) had shown off a mock-up smartphone device with a foldable screen.
Now, however, Samsung has demonstrated a real working prototype at the FPD International 2008. Seemingly based off the research from ITRI (as it is also using a five inch flexible OLED screen), the Samsung device opens like a book effectively doubling the screen real estate.
This is just the beginning. In my opinion, the next logical step would be to have the flexible screen rolled up inside the smartphone. Then the screen could be unrolled by 'pulling' the phone larger (or possibly pressing a button). This would allow the user to choose the size of their display.
What are your thoughts? What do you think the future of the smartphone is? How will flexible screens be used in the devices, if at all?