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Cellphones Displays

Flexible Phones 'Out By 2013' 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-if-they-can-only-make-phones-into-snap-bracelets dept.
dryriver sends this quote from a BBC report: "Imagine treating your phone like a piece of paper. Roll it up. Drop it. Squish it in your backpack. Step on it — without any damage. Researchers are working on just such handsets — razor-thin, paper-like and bendable. There have already been prototypes, attracting crowds at gadget shows. But rumors abound that next year will see the launch of the first bendy phone. Numerous companies are working on the technology — LG, Philips, Sharp, Sony and Nokia among them — although reports suggest that South Korean phone manufacturer Samsung will be the first to deliver. Samsung favors smartphones with so-called flexible OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology, and is confident that they will be 'very popular among consumers worldwide.' Their screens will be 'foldable, rollable, wearable and more, [and] will allow for a high degree of durability through their use of a plastic substrate that is thinner, lighter and more flexible than conventional LCD technology,' says a Samsung spokesperson.'"
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Flexible Phones 'Out By 2013'

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  • Is the battery flexible?

    • Re:Yeah but... (Score:4, Informative)

      by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:22AM (#42141035)
      It seems like in all the pictures, there is a flexible part (screen, keyboard, whatever depending on the concept) and a rigid part. There would have to be... as even if they had bendy leads, displays, and batteries, good luck coming up with a bendy processor.
    • How do they get all the chips to bend? RAM, Flash, SOC, etc. Or is there a non-flexible part that contains rigid/brittle components?
      • Think of a folding partition: as a whole it bends, but it is made up of small non-bending parts.

        Flexible PC boards have existed for years, and are inside many consumer devices today - the board as a whole is flexible, the individual chips are not. The chips are small in relation to the board size.

  • Feature Set (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Iron (III) Chloride (922186) on Friday November 30, 2012 @09:55AM (#42140821)

    One question to ask would be the types of features that one would expect in these flexible phones in the near-term. Would they start out as having similar capabilities as current smartphones in the market, or would they be more "bread-and-butter" phones that will only see incorporation of additional capabilities in the long term?

    Of greater interest to me is the possibility of flexible laptops and tablets. The reason why we have things like smartphones is because we can easily carry them around (e.g. in our pocket) and still have sufficient computational for day-to-day use. But if we can get flexible tablets/laptops to work, I think that'd be very useful in terms of packing greater amounts of computational power per (folded) surface area.

    • by jovius (974690)

      A mobile device in the most basic terms needs only the connectivity and a screen, and that's the direction where mobile computing is going (and we are seeing more just screens everywhere to stream data to). The setting is paved with on-line services, which are steadily taken as a norm. A bit of cache memory and everything can be streamed to and from the device, which wouldn't need much of processing power either, or a powerful GPU.

      The electromagnetic spectrum is not that much there too yet, but it's coming

    • One question to ask would be the types of features that one would expect in these flexible phones in the near-term. Would they start out as having similar capabilities as current smartphones in the market, or would they be more "bread-and-butter" phones that will only see incorporation of additional capabilities in the long term?

      Of greater interest to me is the possibility of flexible laptops and tablets. The reason why we have things like smartphones is because we can easily carry them around (e.g. in our pocket) and still have sufficient computational for day-to-day use. But if we can get flexible tablets/laptops to work, I think that'd be very useful in terms of packing greater amounts of computational power per (folded) surface area.

      I am having a hard time seeing an all bendy and all over paper thin iPhone or Galaxy killer that can handle 3D games and the like. The mockups and prototypes I have seen are usually a thin and bendy screen a few millimeters thick made from a rubbery material and attached to a brick containing the electronics, kind of like the ones depicted in TFA (none of whom come close my definition of 'razor-thin' by the way), one of the coolest mockups I have seen was a small brick with a paper thin pull out screen.

  • Flavors (Score:5, Funny)

    by BlueMonk (101716) <BlueMonkMN@gmail.com> on Friday November 30, 2012 @09:56AM (#42140825) Homepage

    Samsung flavors smartphones with so-called flexible OLED

    Mmmm... OLED... Tasty!

  • by clemdoc (624639) on Friday November 30, 2012 @09:59AM (#42140845)
    of your phone, you just dump it into the shredder?
    Will the phones then end up as confetti?
  • This is really cool and I hope to have a bendable phone next. I am beginning to hate the increasingly massive sizes of phones recently and this is a welcome feature to offset that so that I can actually bend and stretch my legs without having to adjust the massive bulge in my pocket. :3
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I'm glad I'm not the only one. Phones are way too big. They must not realize that most men don't carry purses.

  • by thegoldenear (323630) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:14AM (#42140953) Homepage

    I don't want anything as sharp as "razor-thin" in my pocket.

  • by macemoneta (154740) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:21AM (#42141021) Homepage

    Like the "Earth: Final Conflict" Global Link Communicator [google.com], this will allow the creation of small devices with large screens that unroll when in use.

    • Bingo! Actually, for me,that was the first kind of application that came to mind years ago when word of E-ink and ePaper were new. Big but lightweight screen, small phone.
    • Forgot about those. Personally, I was thinking in terms of Caprica's paper computer things people carried around in their pocket (link [google.com])

      I'd love to have one of those.
  • I can hardly wait.
  • Uh - oh ... Apple is in trouble!
    • Why would Apple be in trouble? They'll copy Samsung and Sony's phones, they'll patent the rectangular version of it, market the hell out of it, and finally sue everybody for stealing Apple's innovation. Apple has been getting away with that for thirty years.

      • Why would Apple be in trouble? They'll copy Samsung and Sony's phones

        You assume Sony/Samsung will really be first with such a phone.

        With Apple's all-consuming desire for thin devices, why would they not be the first to adopt this?

        • There's a very slim chance of that happening, even after Jobs' death. He was notoriously against anything OLED related, now it's finally going to be biting Apple in the ass since Samsung owns 90% of the OLED market (albeit through non-exclusive PHOLED materials agreements with Universal Display). That includes almost all flexible OLED production too. And Sharp's financial woes are causing problems on the Apple LCD front going forward. It really was a major blunder on Job's part to lock themselves so tig

          • He had a good point though; the display quality of OLED is quite poor if you want any kind of accurate colors.

            So far staying away from OLED appears to have hurt Apple not one whit.

            • Agreed, they've done quite well without the technology and Samsung has done quite well with it (Galaxy, Note, etc.). Primarily because the market that requires very accurate color representation is extremely small.

              The real pain will set in when OLED goes mainstream in TVs and monitors in the next couple years. That's when Samsung's foresight over the last decade, coupled with Apple's misstep, will pay off huge dividends.

          • by dbIII (701233)
            We can probably thank that hatred for the IPS LED screen finally getting into the mainstream instead of being $2k monitors for graphic artists.
        • by arisvega (1414195)

          With Apple's all-consuming desire for thin devices, why would they not be the first to adopt this?

          There is no 'adopt' in what is colloquially called 'the patent system', Sir. There is either 'innovate' or 'copy'.

          On the other hand, considering the billions and lawyers involved in the mess that is colloquially called 'the patent system', yes, you are probably correct: Apple will be the first to 'adopt' this.

  • Quick, find patents for mobile devices and just add "on a flexible screen" and file a new one.

    That's all it takes to get approval, right?

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Prior art:
      http://wexler-global.com/products/79/347
      It's a pity there's only one thing like this so far and it's only being sold in Russia. You can't even get something like this from China yet.
  • They've had the ability to make cellphones waterproof for nearly 10 years and haven't bothered. My guess is it's an added expense and the make a lot of money from people that run their phones through the wash. Hell, I had one die after I left it on the counter while I took a shower. Think they've fix that with these "flexible" phones? I doubt it... and it's a far more common cause of phone failure than braking the actual phone.

  • Being flexible means that they could turn into i.e. bracelets, or other accesories. Probably it will change from a boxy thing that you must carry to a bunch of device parts that you will be wearing
  • by pubwvj (1045960)

    Yuck. I don't want my phone, iPod or other devices bending. This sounds like it is going to be more fragile and less long lived. This sounds like more of the disposable society. Yuck.

    I want durability. I want to buy a device and use it for years, pass it on in the family and have others be able to keep using it. I want devices that are durable and last, taking real world abuse.

  • by jmactacular (1755734) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:24PM (#42143697)

    I felt it important to point out the correct acronym for flexible organic light emitting diode is FOLED.

    We have to keep our acronyms straight, we're geeks! hahaha

  • What about hardware keyboards? Does this mean they'll end up killing them? Have they found a way to make them flexible too?

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