While the non-glass flexible display market is still in the R&D phase, with new encapsulation technologies being explored, a new survey has found a need for the robustness of the technology.
Although companies such as Samsung have announced they are working on flexible OLED displays, these will be housed behind a layer of glass. Their flexibility will be limited by this, and their main selling point will be their thinness and lightweight properties.
There have been announcements of flexible displays being readied for market, with e-paper being the technology of choice at present. Developer Plastic Logic, has commissioned a survey into how a flexible screen can help consumers. It found that almost £1 billion (€1.3 billion) a year on average is spent by UK businesses replacing broken screens on a variety of devices, with one in four employees admitting to damaging a device at work.
One thing flexible screens can offer is robustness. Drop it, and there is no glass substrate to smash, and as they are light, they are also fairly shockproof. The robustness of flexible displays has been noted already. Sriram Peruvemba, market coordinator at e-paper manufacturer E Ink, noted the problem of breakages: 'Flexible e-paper displays are important in terms of the current market. Breakages in the glass front of displays make up around 10% of products shipped annually.'
Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Plastic Logic adds: 'This research shows a clear need for work devices to become more robust and better able to survive the clumsy actions of their owners. At Plastic Logic, we've developed ultra-thin, ultra-lightweight, rugged displays that can be bent, dropped, trodden on, or even cut in half and still work.'
There is obviously a need for flexible displays, and while the dream of a foldable phone, or a bendable display may be a few years away, there are screens available that offer the better advantages, and build consumer expectation, bringing the market to the eyes of the customer. Fully flexible displays may be some time away, but the market is there, and interested.
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Documents and links
Website for Plastic Logic which is commercialising an e-reader aimed at business and corporate users
Link to the website of E Ink
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