Over the past decade or so, the various brands of smart phones have acquired the same type of form factor. When we think of a smart phone these days we think of a set of expected attributes. A large touchscreen is the norm, set into a rigid hand-held device with a mini-keyboard below the screen.
Flexible screens on the way
But this all looks set to change, with the advent of the new flexible screen technology being pioneered by companies such as Plastic Logic. New and much more innovative form factors are now suddenly possible for the manufacturers, as flexible displays begin to come onto the mainstream market. In particular, we will probably witness a rise in the availability of flexible devices that effectively merge the functionalities of smart phones, watches and tablet computers.
The new technology
Electronic paper was first developed in the 1970s by R&D specialists at Xerox, but tablets and phones today have displays that are based on a different type of technology. This is been because the innovative organic LED (OLED) and LCD displays offer superior colour resolution and have quicker response times. The images they create also have better resolution and are sharper.
The 1080p smart phones are so popular today because this technology is ideal for super-high resolutions and multimedia consumption.
The rise of organic displays
Over the past decade, however, there have been major advances in the development of flexible screen technology… All layers in current LCD displays are rigid, so the next-generation OLEDs need to be developed in such a way that they that are flexible and driven by a flexible transistor matrix. Current OLED displays are driven by silicon transistors, which are not necessarily flexible.
Plastic Logic is at the cutting edge of this technology, developing robust, flexible display screens that will be used on a range of familiar devices from smart phones to credit cards.
High-resolution, flexible displays will soon start to enter the mainstream market, and devices will be able to bend and twist, allowing for a multiplicity of new and innovative designs.
The shape of things
The flexible smart phones of the future will in all probability be able to morph neatly and easily between different types of form factor. A typical device will still serve mainly as a phone, but it will be possible to expand it to create a tablet-like device or fold it up to turn it into a wristwatch that can be wrapped around your arm.
Twists and turns
As such, a device will be able to move between a variety of shapes and sizes and a single device will last perhaps a lifetime and practically become a part of our personal sense of identity. Make it large at home to enjoy multimedia and then collapse it to a bangle for when you’re out and about. Tactile feedback should also be normal, with the flexible screen’s ability to flex outwards to create 3D buttons for typing.
Truly fully flexible smart phones are currently still limited by the rigidity of batteries and other components. Flexible display technology is here to stay, and we can expect major advances across the board to transform the ways in which we interact with our familiar phones and many other items of electronic equipment as well.
Author Bio:- Verena blogs about gadgets and technology, covering everything from the latest mobile advancements to display technology. When she’s not online Verena enjoys swimming, cycling and shopping. Read more about Plastic Logic here.