The CES this year – in 2016 – showed us a lot of new and upcoming technology that blew our minds; one piece of technology was all the rage at the event: foldable screens.
The two Korean giants – Samsung and LG – have been developing foldable displays for a couple of years now, and while we have seen a few prototypes – mostly at CES – they haven’t been available for use in commercial products.
Though, it seems that’s going to change: According to a report by The Economic Times of Korea, LG has secured a few customers and development partners for its foldable displays, the list includes Microsoft, Google, and Apple.
The report also suggests that while Apple and Google are expected to use these displays in smartphones, Microsoft plans to use them for something bigger – the Surface tablets. The idea of a foldable display in a tablet might remind a few old-timers of the doomed Courier tablet.
While this report sounds exciting – and it is – there’s one issue: the report also mentions that mass production of LG’s foldable displays isn’t expected until 2018; making this innovation more than a year away from the hands of… well, the mass market.
There is, however, China; quoting an industry source, the report claims that the Chinese manufacturers such as Lenovo and Oppo might be ahead of Samsung and LG in terms of development.
The Chinese manufacturers might, in fact, bring foldable displays to the mass market within the next 12 months; though, the report also mentions that these displays are of inferior quality as their goal for performance is significantly lower than the Korean manufacturers.
Samsung, of course, has flexible OLED displays – the company uses them in its Galaxy line of smartphones, and the idea has shown quite a bit of promise.
Samsung is also developing foldable displays – which are not quite the same as flexible displays, that it currently uses – but Samsung plans on using them in their own devices, rather than selling them to other partners.
In other words, Samsung’s displays most likely won’t be sold to Apple for use in its iPhones.
It is, therefore, important for Samsung to develop something as good as – or better – than what LG has come up with.
LG’s technology is, of course, promising – otherwise, folks at Microsoft, Apple, or Google, wouldn’t become customers and partners when the technology is still two years away.
Microsoft has one of the best research and development programs in the industry; it’s also where Microsoft’s conceptual ideas are born – like the Courier tablet.
Microsoft has been working overtime to turn its concepts into reality – not an easy goal, but one that Microsoft is quite adamant to achieve.
Hopefully, as the technology gets better, more of Microsoft’s concepts – like the Courier tablet – will end up in the hands of the masses, but the wait sure is a long one – especially considering we saw the Courier tablet in 2009.