Future foldables could go from existing single-fold to double-fold designs, use screens that are capable of folding both in and out, or even use roll-up screens to expand out. That is if manufacturers embrace the new foldable screen technologies it shows Samsung screen Y LG screen this week in San Jose, California, during the annual Display Week conference.
LG Display shows off an 8-inch foldable touchscreen that it says can be folded both in and out, similar to what we saw in TCL Ultra Flex Concept at the beginning of this year. The design allows a single folding screen to serve as both an interior screen (as well as with the Galaxy Z Fold 3) and an outer screen (as with Huawei Mate XS). Devices equipped with this “foldable 360-degree OLED” could eschew the need for internal and external screens in favor of a single large screen.
Apparently, LG Display’s 360-degree foldable OLED can survive being bent “over 200,000 times” before it starts to break, and LG Display says it uses a “special folding structure” that minimizes any creasing. gizmodo reports that the screen has a resolution of 2,480 x 2,200 pixels, the same as the internal screen of the Huawei Mate X2.
Not to be outdone, Samsung Display also shows off its own interesting foldable tech. Its Flex G and Flex S screens, which it showed for the first time back at CES, both offer screens that can be folded twice. In the case of the Flex G they fold twice in the same direction like a tri-fold wallet, while the Flex S folds once in and once out like a paper map.
Samsung Display also has a couple of slider mobile phones with screens that can be unfolded horizontally or vertically. We have seen many roll up concepts over the years from companies including TCL, oppoand even LG before that get out of the smartphone business altogether. But despite the interest, no smartphone with a rollable screen has yet reached the market.
These are just some of the new form factors that 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 foldable screen designed to have game controllers attached to both ends. LG Display also has a 17-inch foldable OLED laptop, where the entire internal surface of the clamshell design is a large foldable screen.
As display divisions of their respective South Korean tech giants, neither LG Display nor Samsung Display produce the consumer devices their panels end up in. give us an interesting idea of where foldable devices are headed in the next few years.