Samsung has recently given us all a brief insight into the world of tomorrow, discussing upcoming display technologies with the Wall Street Journal. A world it seems that will soon be built on plastic. With many properties that make it superior to glass; lighter, thinner, flexible and cheaper, plastic is the next inevitable step in display technology.
Samsung has been developing plastic display technology based on flexible plastic substrates for a number of years, as have many display manufacturers. On show at the moment are the latest OLED displays built on to plastic substrates. This technology will also be on show during the upcoming expo season starting with CES in Las Vegas, January 2013.
Many websites are reporting the Galaxy S4 will be the first product to use the technology. Here at Highpants we don’t believe Samsung could produce the volumes required for a Galaxy phone, unless they were to produce a special limited edition plastic indestructible model. The Galaxy smartphones are Samsung’s flagship product, you can bank on the fact that as soon as the technology is out of the labs it will be used in the Galaxy line of phones and tablets. This is a no brainer, a logical extension of what we know. But it is still to be confirmed by Samsung so must be considered pure speculation. Samsung as per normal refuse to comment on future products, it will be interesting to see how Samsung integrates the new technology into its product lines, especially the Galaxy’s.
The current generation of smarphones use glass as the foundation (substrate) for every display, no matter the type OLED or LCD. Glass by its very nature though is heavy and quite brittle. Even the famous Gorilla Glass has limitations, pass this limit and cracking will follow. Plastic on the other hand is far more elastic, banishing the spiders web cracks of a mangled glass display to the warranty return bin of the past.
Producing plastic displays is a challenging undertaking, not as simple as switching glass for sheets of plastic. Plastic by nature doesn’t like high temperatures, which many parts of the display manufacturing process involve. New low temperature techniques have evolved at Samsung who are aiming to begin mass production in the first half of 2013, expect other manufacturers to follow. Sony and LG have also been working on plastic substrate technology for a number of years, how long Samsung has a lead with this technology is up to the competition.
While plastic substrates won’t automatically lead to flexible phones we can at least prepare to say goodbye to cracked screens once and for all, the scourge of the phone and tablet world should soon be a distant memory. Cheaper, lighter, thinner and flexible plastic is the display material of the future.
Source: Wall Street Journal