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Foldable Smartphone is Coming Soon

By Korbin Lan
Published: Aug 06,2015

Flexible Touch Screen(Source:ITRI)

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is proof that cellphones can have additional space for their displays by relying on bendable display screens. Since bendable screens can already be mass produced, this means that preparations are already underway for foldable phones. Furthermore the market and technological evolution is confirming this trend. In as soon as one or two years, people will be able to find foldable cellphones on the market.

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Flexible displays are not a new phenomenon, and they actually began to be developed a decade ago. Through a period of over ten years, flexible displays have improved to a considerable degree, especially AMOLED technology. Currently, AMOLED displays have already progressed from being flexible to being foldable.

Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) stated that preparations have already been made for materials, equipment, electronic components, effectiveness, and marketing for AMOLED display technology. Therefore, we are ready to enter the era of foldable products. It is anticipated that within one to two years, foldable cellphones or tablets will have made their appearance in the market.

ITRI has already conducted research and development of AMOLED display screens for ten years and experienced first-hand the challenges of researching and developing materials, manufacturing equipment, and components for flexible AMOLED displays. After overcoming these difficulties, they have made the achievement of making AMOLED displays almost ready to go on the market.

Lee Cheng-chung, Deputy Director at the Display Technology Center at ITRI said that for a technological item to be ready for commercial use the most important and final stage is the appearance of demand in the terminal market. The imminent appearance of foldable display devices will be driven by wearable devices, smartphones, and tablet computers.

“Consumers are anticipating mobile devices that are light-weight and wearable while also having displays with large dimensions, and this is an opportunity for foldable display screens,” said Lee Cheng-chung.

However, there are still two unknown logistics that present difficulties for foldable cellphones. The first is the problem of creating an exterior phone housing, and the second is software support for devices with foldable displays.

Lee Cheng-chung stated that the biggest challenges to developing foldable cellphones are manufacturing exterior casings that are suitable for foldable devices and developing supported software for displays and touch control functions on foldable devices.

However, he also pointed out the Taiwan’s precision machinery probably has the capacity to solve the problem of the phone housing. As for the software, however, currently neither iOS nor Android have developed solutions.

(TR/Phil Sweeney)

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