Samsung has just developed an “unbreakable” OLED screen
The technology behind the display itself is nothing new, Samsung has been working on flexible screen technology for years now. However, past attempts were locked away behind a sheet of glass, protecting them from damage and restricting them to a single form – such as the curved edges of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 devices.
That’s changed with the announcement that Samsung Display has found a way to encase its display technology inside a plastic-coated frame that allows it to remain flexible while still offering a level of protection on par with glass. This new technology has been certified by UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories) – the folks who decide if a tech or science product is safe for use in global markets – marking it as a truly viable product that can be described as “unbreakable”.
UL put the panel through its paces, using tests set to standards by the US Department of Defense. The panel was dropped from 1.2 metres 26 times in succession as well as being subjected to temperatures of 71 degrees Celsius and -32 degrees Celsius. At the end of the testing, Samsung reports that the “unbreakable panel continued to function normally with no damage to its front, sides or edges.”
The UL also dropped the panel from a 1.8-metre drop – higher than military certification standards – and the display suffered no damage.
“The fortified plastic window is especially suitable for portable electronic devices not only because of its unbreakable characteristics, but also because of its lightweight, transmissivity and hardness, which are all very similar to glass,” explained Hojung Kim, general manager of the Communication Team at Samsung Display.
The technology is touted specifically as a “smartphone panel” but the innovation behind its construction could easily be used in a variety of other display situations. Samsung sees it as having a use in car displays, military devices, tablets and portable games consoles. For now, though, smartphones are the focus – partly because we drop them all the time.
If you’re holding out hope that you’ll find one of these super-tough screens in the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, chances are you’ll be very disappointed. Not only has the display only just been certified – and the Note 9 has been in production for a while now – but it’s almost certainly prohibitively expensive to go to market right now.
2019’s flagship phones, however, they could well be on the receiving end of an unbreakable screen.