Bendable display technology has been a hot topic amongst savvy users and tech experts over the last couple of years. It seems like the smartphone market is experiencing tough times, as shipments fell 3%, in the first quarter of 2016, according to research by Strategy Analytics. Customers can get different screen sizes, new apps and different color ranges to choose from, but it’s not enough for true innovative new phones. People are waiting for something revolutionary to drive a new wave of interest in smart devices.
Back in 2013, Samsung and LG boldly announced that they have started working on bendable smartphones and tablets, and mentioned that their products are going to disrupt the market and will be ready by 2017. Since then, we haven’t heard anything but a lot of rumors on this subject. The companies have still got time to surprise everyone, although there are doubts that Samsung or LG will be the first ones to bring such devices to the market. Lenovo has recently presented its Cplus concept bendable smartphone and tablet at its latest Tech World 2016 event in San Francisco.
Even though Lenovo is ready with a bendable concept, there is also uncertainty about the release date. During Tech World 2016, Lenovo treated it more like an experiment to test the reaction from potential customers. Meghan McCarty, a screenwriter and a producer of the popular animated series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Fame, stood up during the presentation to demonstrate the functionality of Lenovo's products. At first, she wrapped a seemingly active phone around her wrist, the audience could hear a cracking sound, but in the end, the smartphone snapped on the wrist just fine. She also demonstrated a tablet with an active display that she could fold in half.
So what is so attractive about bendable devices? The technology allows a smartphone to be worn on the wrist, or to be folded, which provides a more comfortable and compact experience. If a device is bendable it’s also strong and flexible which solves the problem of broken screens and expensive repairs. Such displays are made using OLED technology that is based on the idea of a flexible substrate which can be made of plastic, metal or glass. OLED products can be divided into two groups - first range devices and second range devices. Even though the first range used OLED bendable technology, devices were not actually bendable from the user perspective. If we look at the latest Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge, its display is curved on the edges, although the display itself isn't flexible. The second range, on the other hand, will provide a unique experience where devices not only will become flexible but also wearable.
Many people are skeptical about the prospect of such gadgets to be launched in 2017. Technology wise, everything is there and ready to go, it’s the business side of things that is hard to put in place. Bendable displays are expensive to make, especially for mass production. Thus, companies take their time to analyze what pricetag to put, so it doesn’t turn customers away. To become a pioneer in this ‘bendable’ race is important, especially for Samsung, considering its sales have dropped significantly over the past 2 years. If it succeeds, the company will manage to get a decent profit and also recapture some of the Apple's customers.