Samsung To Debut Stretchable OLED Display This Week At SID 2017

The displays of tomorrow will not look like or function in the same manner as the displays as today. Sure, panel makers are working on increasing high resolution displays, but we're not talking about a bump to 8K or even higher. Tomorrow's displays will be flexible, bendable, foldable, and even stretchable. In regards to the latter, Samsung is planning to showcase a stretchable display at the SID 2017 event in Los Angeles this week.

This will be an organic light emitting diode (OLED) display that is stretchable. Samsung said it is unique because it has the capability of bending in both directions, whereas previous flexible panels are only able to bend in one specific direction. The ability to bend in more than one direction opens up new applications and additional use-case scenarios for devices that might implement such a display.

Samsung Stretchable Display
Image Source: Samsung via Yonhap News Agency

"While current flexible OLED is able to be transformed in only one side, this stretchable OLED can be transformed—whether curved, bended or rolled—in both sides, above and below," a Samsung Display spokesperson told the Korea Herald.

According to Samsung, its new display can stretch up to 12 millimeters when pressed. Even when its happening, the OLED display will maintain a high resolution, though Samsung did not mention how many pixels its prototype is packing. That said, we've always been impressed by Samsung's Super AMOLED displays, which gives us hope that a stretchable OLED panel will have the same high quality as its regular displays.

The version that Samsung plans to showcase measures 9.1 inches. Obviously that is a bit large for a smartphone. While Samsung has yet to say what kind of products might adopt a stretchable display of that size, it is expected to find its way onto devices that tap into the Internet of Things (IoT) and/or leverage artificial intelligence technologies, at least initially. Down the road? Who knows, as new technologies tend to get their feet wet in the commercial sector before trickling into the consumer space.

There is a big market opportunity for Samsung and other display makers here. According to IHS Markit estimates that flexible display sales will reach $15.7 billion in 2020, up from $5.3 billion this year.

Thumbnail Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Hans Olav Lien)