Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 9th Jan 2013 22:28 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless This is so cool, and defeninitely the future of mobile phone displays. Samsung demonstrated a prototype phone with a flexible display. Flexible displays will be more resilient than the stuff we use today, and if we ever get around to developing flexible PCBs and batteries, we'll be golden. I long for sturdy, shatterproof devices.
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I'm with the verge
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 9th Jan 2013 23:15 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

I can't think of a good use. I like my flat screens flat. I don't want a phone in the shape of an orange, or a pringles chip, or a klein bottle.

Shatter-proofing a phone doesn't require a flexible screen, it requires a screen that doesn't shatter. We have plenty of shatter proof clear surfaces to choose from, but none of them are as scratch resistant as the shatter prone materials we currently use.

Flexible materials also don't strike me as particularly sturdy, either. It seems they'd be subject to repeated varied stress that non flexible displays aren't.

Of course there are degrees of flexibility, so maybe Thom and everyone else in the world is just thinking of a device that would bend slightly under extreme stress, instead of a screen that can be rolled up like an old school map?

Reply Score: 2

RE: I'm with the verge
by kwan_e on Wed 9th Jan 2013 23:44 UTC in reply to "I'm with the verge"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I can't think of a good use.


Maybe with some kind of "flex sensor", it will allow even more input options? Would put pinch-to-zoom and other patented bollocks to shame.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I'm with the verge
by satsujinka on Thu 10th Jan 2013 00:07 UTC in reply to "I'm with the verge"
satsujinka Member since:
2010-03-11

Of course flexible materials are more sturdy than non. It's much harder to break a flexible material then a rigid one.

Personally, I think, the biggest use for flex is when we get to fold-able devices (roll-able naturally comes first though.) Basically, folding would allow you to have larger screens on mobile devices. So a phone with a tablet sized screen that still fits in your pocket.

Of course, magnetically (or some other detachable mechanism) attached displays would also be an option and would probably be simpler to implement. It also allows for better expandability...

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: I'm with the verge
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 10th Jan 2013 00:42 UTC in reply to "RE: I'm with the verge"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Of course flexible materials are more sturdy than non. It's much harder to break a flexible material then a rigid one.


I don't know about that. A diamond is much more sturdy than a rubber band. My femur is much more sturdy than my acl. There are counter examples, of course, but I'm just pointing out that its not any where close to an absolute truth. Its just too difficult to say without knowing the specifics when trying to compare materials.

Edited 2013-01-10 00:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I'm with the verge
by Bishi on Thu 10th Jan 2013 01:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I'm with the verge"
Bishi Member since:
2009-08-27

Diamonds are ridiculously easy to crush.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: I'm with the verge
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 10th Jan 2013 16:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I'm with the verge"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Too many material properties getting mixed up... durability isn't really defined in the context of this conversation. Which is partially my fault, I realize, but take a look at some of the different measurements that could all be considered durability:

http://www.chatillon.com/test-solutions/test-types/index.aspx

Its difficult to say that a good test on one of them will guarantee a good test on any other one, without going into specific materials.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I'm with the verge
by kwan_e on Thu 10th Jan 2013 01:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I'm with the verge"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

My femur is much more sturdy than my acl.


That's because bones are actually flexible. If your bones were completely stiff, they would shatter quite easily. Your femur would then break more than your acl. In fact, there could be a greater chance of breaking bones, because a stiff bone, being pulled on by tendons and ligaments, would not be able to give.

Reply Score: 6

RE[4]: I'm with the verge
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 10th Jan 2013 16:08 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I'm with the verge"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

My femur might be somewhat flexible, but its less flexible than the tendons in my body. Again, almost nothing in this world is absolute. Glass is also somewhat flexible.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I'm with the verge
by Soulbender on Thu 10th Jan 2013 07:47 UTC in reply to "RE: I'm with the verge"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Of course flexible materials are more sturdy than non.

It's much harder to break a flexible material then a rigid one.


Depends on what you do to it. It's much easier to cut rubber than steel but rubber doesn't bend out of shape. Both materials have properties that, when used in the right context, makes them better than the other.

Personally, I think, the biggest use for flex is when we get to fold-able devices


Guess what will happen to the display at the line where you fold it all the time.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: I'm with the verge
by zima on Wed 16th Jan 2013 23:13 UTC in reply to "RE: I'm with the verge"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Personally, I think, the biggest use for flex is when we get to fold-able devices (roll-able naturally comes first though.)

Rollable might be more eye-catching on trade shows, but historically we already moved away from it: we moved from scrolls to flat books - generally with at most one fold (and I also doubt folding displays will catch on; they will be probably more about various new shapes possible during manufacturing)

Of course, magnetically (or some other detachable mechanism) attached displays would also be an option and would probably be simpler to implement. It also allows for better expandability...

But we generally move away from expandability. Reminds me about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_computer#The_Home_Computer_.22Rev... - it didn't come to pass because we overestimated the costs of every gadget including its own CPU, and underestimated costs and complexity of interlinks.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I'm with the verge
by Yoko_T on Thu 10th Jan 2013 04:13 UTC in reply to "I'm with the verge"
Yoko_T Member since:
2011-08-18

I can't think of a good use. I like my flat screens flat. I don't want a phone in the shape of an orange, or a pringles chip, or a klein bottle.

Shatter-proofing a phone doesn't require a flexible screen, it requires a screen that doesn't shatter. We have plenty of shatter proof clear surfaces to choose from, but none of them are as scratch resistant as the shatter prone materials we currently use.

Flexible materials also don't strike me as particularly sturdy, either. It seems they'd be subject to repeated varied stress that non flexible displays aren't.

Of course there are degrees of flexibility, so maybe Thom and everyone else in the world is just thinking of a device that would bend slightly under extreme stress, instead of a screen that can be rolled up like an old school map?


All you have to do is look at power cords of AC wall adapters for things like laptops to see what the ultimate fate of flexible displays will be.

How many of them have broken exactly at the where the stress-relief part of cord joins the rest of the cord?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I'm with the verge
by ssokolow on Thu 10th Jan 2013 04:33 UTC in reply to "RE: I'm with the verge"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

All you have to do is look at power cords of AC wall adapters for things like laptops to see what the ultimate fate of flexible displays will be.

How many of them have broken exactly at the where the stress-relief part of cord joins the rest of the cord?


This wouldn't happen to be Apple cables you're referencing, would it?

...because I've only ever had one proper cable break that way while I'm constantly running into people who are using Apple cables that are half-broken at the crippled stub of a strain relief that the design department didn't veto.

(Apple allows their design guys veto over their engineers)

Edited 2013-01-10 04:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I'm with the verge
by Soulbender on Thu 10th Jan 2013 07:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I'm with the verge"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

...because I've only ever had one proper cable break that way while I'm constantly running into people who are using Apple cables that are half-broken at the crippled stub


I have seen a lot of laptop adapters from many different brands broken that way. Of course, that's usually after years of daily use but still...

Reply Score: 3

Solder
by cheemosabe on Thu 10th Jan 2013 07:56 UTC
cheemosabe
Member since:
2009-11-29

PCBs aren't the problem, it's solder. Even with normal PCBs solder tends to crack after some time, especially under BGAs. This even happens with iPhones. With ROHS it's even worse as without lead solder cracks more easily. Until we find an alternative to solder flexible PCBs aren't going to happen.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by banatibor
by banatibor on Thu 10th Jan 2013 11:26 UTC
banatibor
Member since:
2012-07-02

I can vision a mobile device which looks like a very thick pen compared to a pen and the touch display is rolled up inside its body. You can receive or refuse calls with physical buttons and you can get informations trough a little window on the side of the device. When you need more screen just pull apart the two parts which rolls out the screen and you would get a 10" tablet, or roll it out partially if you need only a specific portion of the screen, for example to dial a number does not require a 10" screen but to watch a full hd movie surly does. I would love such a device small, compact and fully functional with very big screen at the same time.

(This idea is given freely to the world and should not be patented just implemented!!! ;) )

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by banatibor
by zima on Wed 16th Jan 2013 16:55 UTC in reply to "Comment by banatibor"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Such toys already showed up at past trade shows ...thing is, it doesn't really work, doesn't really look very practical. It makes only for a "cool" looking demo.

Books were at one point like that, too - in the form of scrolls. But we moved away from scrolls, to the present flat form.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Thu 10th Jan 2013 12:59 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

I've watched the video. It's a cool effect, but I'm not sure it has any practical value.

If it's more shatter resistant that would be a very good thing of course. But if the screen is almost shatter is prove, what about the rest of the phone?

Reply Score: 2