Future foldables could move from existing single-fold designs to double-folding, use screens capable of folding both inward and outward, or even use rolling screens to expand outward. outside. That’s if manufacturers embrace new folding screen technologies showcased by Samsung Display and LG Display this week in San Jose, Calif., at the annual Display Week conference.
LG Display is showing off an 8-inch foldable touchscreen that it says can bend both inward and outward, similar to what we saw from TCL’s Ultra Flex concept earlier this year. The design allows a single foldable display to serve as both an inner display (as with the Galaxy Z Fold 3) and an outer display (as with Huawei’s Mate XS). Devices with this “360-degree bendable OLED” could avoid having both an inner screen and an outer screen in favor of a single large screen.
LG Display’s 360-degree bendable OLED can apparently survive being bent “more than 200,000 times” before it starts to break, and LG Display says it uses a “special bend structure” that minimizes any bends. Gizmodo reports that the display has a resolution of 2480 x 2200 pixels, the same as Huawei’s Mate X2 internal display.
Not to be outdone, Samsung Display is also introducing its own interesting foldable technology. Its Flex G and Flex S displays, which it first showed off at CES, both offer screens that can bend twice. In the case of the Flex G, they fold twice in the same direction like a trifold wallet, while the Flex S folds once inwards and once outwards like a paper card.
Samsung Display also offers a pair of sliding handsets with screens that can unfold either horizontally or vertically. We’ve seen plenty of rollable concepts over the years from companies like TCL, Oppo and even LG before it left the smartphone business altogether. But despite the interest, no smartphone with a rollable screen has yet arrived on the market.
These are just a few of the new form factors LG Display and Samsung Display are showcasing at this week’s show. Both companies are also investing heavily in OLED screens for car infotainment screens, as well as screens designed for gaming, like Samsung Display’s OLED laptop screen with a 240Hz refresh rate, or a folding screen designed to have game controllers attached to both ends. LG Display also has a foldable 17-inch OLED laptop, where the entire interior surface of the clamshell design is a large folding screen.
As display divisions of their respective South Korean tech giants, neither LG Display nor Samsung Display actually produce the consumer devices their panels end up in. But because they supply displays to some of the biggest consumer tech companies in the world, showcases like Display Week can give us some interesting insight into where foldable devices will go in the years to come.