According to The Verge, Korean news site DDaily says Samsung is set to begin manufacturing its long-rumored "Youm" displays -- a new type of ultra-thin AMOLED panel which is bendable, stretchable, rollable and possibly even foldable. This jibes with rumors we heard in 2011 that Samsung may have been planning to mass produce these very interesting displays in Q2 2012.
Before anyone gets too excited though, Samsung is curiously expected to ship these flexible displays affixed to a rigid sheet of "protective" glass, initially. Clearly, this dampens some of the excitement surrounding the rumor. However, DDaily's sources claim Samsung has an internal goal of mass-producing fully flexible screens by 2014.
This is purely speculation, but one reason for the delay may be a lack of devices which could properly house a flexible display. By manufacturing these screens now, Samsung gains experience mass producing them for traditional, rigid devices (phones, tablets and so on). When OEMs begin contemplating flexible gadgets though, Samsung will be ready to supply.
Although the upcoming Youm displays aren't expected to be flexible at first, what they will be is thin -- really thin. Even while married to a glass panel, the displays should measure 1mm in thickness. Without the glass layer, the screens boast a thickness of just 0.6mm. It is possible that this glass could be substituted with a material like Willow Glass or plastic in the future though, freeing the panel from its inflexible constraints.
For anyone surprised to learn of the existence of bendable displays, this sci-fi-sounding screen technology may have a peculiar odor of vaporware about it. In an effort to quash such disbelief though, I'll point out that Samsung has demonstrated this technology in the past. Ostensibly, other companies have been making progress on flexible displays too, including LG and HP, although we've yet to see one made commercially available.
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