Thursday, April 11, 2013

How soon to the flexible form factor? Some flex signals from the past few days.

KEY MOBILE TRENDS: form factors, flexible, materials, displays, follow the components.
EVENT HORIZON: five years.


For your consideration:

-LG could beat Samsung to market with commercial flexible displays >>
-Apple Patent Reveals Advanced iDevice Flex Display Features >>
-Apple job listing for 'flexible display' engineer >>
-Flexible keyboard, clickable buttons >>

Back in the year 2000 I saw a really nice, super sharp color mobile display at an industry trade show. However, I didn't see any mainstream phone with a screen like that until around 2005. That's an example of the time gap from component demos to store-shelf ready implementation.

Yes, companies that design components begin hocking their wares years before they will implemented in products. In fact, they start showing off working and non-working prototypes behind the curtains in deep non-disclosure agreement meetings. Ordinary folks like us don't get a peak until development work is nearly complete. And then it still takes years and years for real products to hit the streets. There are few surprises for industry insiders.

Now we're getting to a point where flexibility is getting close. How close? From experience, I would say five years until some mainstream product hits a mall near you. The displays are getting there, the batteries, some of the guts. We could start to see modularity, with wrap-around displays here and there a bit sooner.

There is hope: the most boring market in the world will become more flexible someday. For now, however, the world remains flat.

Another look at Samsung's YOUM flexible display technology happy, pretty people video:


image via Patently Apple:

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