We can now add strechable displays to the list of innovations that could one day show up in future Samsung products.
Not content with stopping at foldable displays, which Samsung and other manufacturers have teased repeatedly in recent years, the Korean tech giant brought a display prototype that is elastic—think rubber balloons—to an industry conference in Los Angeles this week.
In addition to tolerating bends, folds, and rolls, the 9.1-inch prototype can also withstand pressure and stretches. If it were installed in a phone or other device today, it could maintain image quality while pressed or stretched up to 12mm from its original flat shape. Those properties would make it ideal not only for eye-catching phones, but also a practical feature for smartwatches and fitness trackers.
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But don't expect to buy a device with a strechable screen any time soon. Samsung said in a statement that "this prototype technology is difficult to mass produce at this time, and we are unable to say when it could be released to the marketplace." And then there's the question of how to make the rest of the device stretchable, although researchers have come up with at least one design for a stretchable battery as well.
Production difficulties are also part of what's holding up foldable displays from arriving on the mass market. But Samsung has also indicated that flooding the market with too many futuristic display options could be a bad business decision. Several of the most recent Galaxy smartphones have included displays that stretch to the end of their bezels, a design Samsung doesn't want to upstage before consumers stop thinking of it as a novelty.
Assuming the stretchable prototype ever involves into a design that can be mass-produced, we expect similar marketing-related delays before it ends up contorting in the hands of consumers.
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