Samsung develops new ‘unbreakable’ flexible OLED panel.


Connor James Ibbetson, Editor-at-large

South Korean tech giant Samsung has unveiled a new flexible OLED screen.

The flexible OLED tech has been around for a few years now, but has often been constrained behind glass in consumer electronics – or covered in a soft and scratch prone material.

That is why when you drop your phone, the glass will shatter but most of the time the OLED panel will survive underneath.

A new video, released on the Samsung display YouTube channel shows off a new flexible OLED screen with a new type of plastic protector. This new plastic is as durable as a glass protector, without the rigidity.

How ‘unbreakable’ is the flexible screen?

The screen is so durable in fact, it has passed testing and been certified by product testing service UL – formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories.

The certification means the technology is ready to be shipped already.

Samsung has described the screen as ‘unbreakable’ and having survived pretty brutal ‘military grade’ testing from UL.

The screen was dropped 26 times in a row from a height of 1.2 meters, as well as being introduced to the business end of a large hammer in the Samsung video.

The screen also faced extreme temperatures as high as 71 degrees Celsius and as low as -32 degrees Celsius.

The screen survived everything thrown at it.

“The fortified plastic window is especially suitable for portable electronic devices not only because of its unbreakable characteristics, but also because of its lightweight, transmissivity and hardness, which are all very similar to glass,” Hojung Kim, a spokesperson for Samsung Display Company, said in a statement.

But will the tech be in the latest Samsung handsets?

Samsung is offering the technology for a wide range of purposes, which will obviously include smartphones, as well as portable game consoles, military devices, tablets, and in-car displays.

However, Samsung has not announced any sort of mass production of the technology, meaning they could be playing a long game – and it may be some time before the tech finds its way to the consumer market.

It almost certainly won’t be a feature of the new Galaxy S9 handset.

That being said, the smartphone market is starting to shrink, the last quarter saw sales of smartphones fall for the first time ever. Blamed on consumers not feeling the need to upgrade as often as phone technology becomes more durable.

In such a tough market, manufacturers will need to use new tricks to make their devices stand out from the crowd, and a flexible phone would do just that.

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