Samsung debuted its Youm flexible-display technology at CES’ closing keynote, and the tech is nothing short of eye-popping.
The new screen technology was demoed as a future concept by Stephen Woo, President of Samsung, who was joined by Brian Berkeley, Senior Vice President of Samsung Display. The curvaceous prototype featured a wrap-around screen that took the display and the content on it, around the edges of the device.
Th company also played out a concept video which showed a phone that unfolds to transform into a tablet.
Samsung brought out a handful of demo units around 5-inches in size to show to the press, including a phonelike device with a screen that wraps around the side edges and could therefore display information like text messages and other alerts without a user needing to view the entire screen. A similar design puts the wraparounds on the bottom, while another concept rolled out like a scroll.
Flexible display technology has been cooking on at Samsung for a while now — the company showed off a display prototype, sans phone, at CES 2011. Samsung slapped the Youm brand name on the technology last spring.
Other companies are dabbling in similar efforts to produce bendy displays. LG and Nokia have also recently demonstrated flexible prototypes for smartphones and tablets.
According to a Samsung executive, Youm displays are made using OLED and will be impervious to cracks even when dropped from a height.
It was interesting to see Microsoft jumping in with Eric Rudder, the company’s Chief Technical Strategy officer demonstrating a prototype of a Windows Phone with the Youm display. Images posted by CNET reveal the bendable prototype with a Windows live tile interface. Not only that, Rudder also seemed to mock Apple by saying, “Some companies talk about reality distortion fields — we built one”.
However, according to technology news website The Verge, the prototype showcased at CES 2013 lacked some of the key features of phones, such as radios, operating system, camera etc. Without these essential features, the display – in its current form – can only be used to display images, but performs no functions.
Speculation is rife that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S IV will have an unbreakable and maybe even flexible display and this demo gives some credence to these rumours.
It will be interesting to see how future companies can use this technology in their devices but one thing is for sure – Youm is a hit.