Samsung's foldable smartphone dreams are becoming realer by the day — the company has apparently been testing an unbreakable OLED display by inflicting it with all kinds of damage yet the phone still came out unscathed.
Flexible OLED panels have been around for many years, although their implementations have been limited. Companies typically put the flexible panel behind a sheet of protective glass, but Samsung's unbreakable OLED display innovates that entirely: the panel already has a plastic cover attached, which is supposed to mimic the properties of glass but retain the screen's flexibility — and because the display doesn't require a protective sheet of glass, it's been proven rugged enough to receive UL certification for its sheer durability.
How Samsung Made An Unbreakable OLED Display
"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," said Hojung Kim of Samsung Display.
According to Samsung, this unbreakable OLED display was able to withstand UL's military-standard tests that involved dropping the device 26 times in a row from a height of 1.2 meters, or about 4 feet. It also survived temperatures as high as 71 degrees Celsius and as low as -32 degrees Celsius. The panel "continued to function normally with no damage to its front, sides, or edges," says Samsung, and the company even took it up a notch by dropping the phone from 1.8 meters, or about 6 feet.
Obviously, the company could one day incorporate this display into its smartphones and most likely sell it to others as well, including smartphone companies that already buy displays from it, such as Apple, which purchases Samsung's OLED panels for the iPhone X. But it could also be used in other devices, including gaming consoles, tablets, in-car displays, and other electronics often prone to damage.
When Will Samsung Roll Out The Unbreakable OLED Display?
Samsung didn't say when this display will roll out to the market, and when it plans to mass-produce the component. Even still, this is certainly great news for manufacturers because once it comes to market, they'll be able to experiment with more bezel-less screen designs and remain confident that the screen won't break.
For consumers, meanwhile, that means less money spent on screen repairs. Then again, better not get one's hopes up — there's a possibility Samsung chucks the whole thing in the bin if it finds any inherent problems with the display's construction. So, remain cautiously optimistic.