Samsung’s rumored to be building a smartphone with a folding display that could launch in 2016. But Samsung’s phone might not be unique: LG Display is also said to be developing a foldable display for smartphones, and according to ET News, the company is mass-producing the screens to meet an order by a US-based company.

LG Paper Touch design concept from Leif Erickson
LG Paper Touch design concept from Leif Erickson

Plans for the phone with the LG display are said to be still under development, and there’s no word on which company placed the order, but it’s described as a “global software business” hoping to challenge Samsung and Apple in the premium smartphone space.

The LG foldable display is said to feature a plastic board and a touch panel that works even after the display has been folded and unfolded 100 thousand times.

Display makers have been building flexible screens for a number of years, but so far most devices with flexible displays have been products like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge which have curved displays that are fixed in place. That’s at least partially because while the screens may be flexible, most of the other components of a phone are not.

folding display, on the other hand, would allow device makers to put some components on each side of a seam in the middle of the screen, which would let you fold it in half. This could allow you to transform a device from a pocket-sized phone into a small tablet by unfolding the screen to reveal additional screen space.

But that’s just a guess. Maybe the seam won’t be down the center. Maybe the screen can be folded in thirds rather than half. Or maybe these folding displays are just prototypes that will never make it to market. After all, Samsung, LG, and LG’s partner haven’t actually announced anything yet: all we’ve got to go on are rumors and alleged leaks.

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34 replies on “Two smartphones with folding displays on the way?”

  1. I think all the liberals in this thread are just upset that their hero Jon Stewart retired as a disgrace after we all found out how he treats his black employee’s.

  2. I think the OLED is flexible and would be – IMO – very ideal for such a phone. It does not require back lighting and can be viewed at different angles and does not use a lot of power.

  3. In general I agree with both sides of the arguments being made. I just don’t see is, to me anyway, as attractive as a selling point. I could see usefulness to people who put their phones in their back pant pocket. But other than that…hhmm not a selling point for me.

    1. This is crazy to me. A bigger-than-phablet phone that folds into something small and manageable in my front pocket is already a huge selling point for me, but that isn’t even the best part. Once you can fold up the screens, entirely new and different form factors become possible. Here are just a few examples of the things people are dreaming up: http://www.concept-phones.com/?s=flexible+screen

      I understand not all of these things will be possible at first, but the point is that this technology is the critical door that needs to be opened first. No more will phones be distinguished only by screen size and camera megapixels, or whether the bezel is metal or plastic; now there can be real creativity in design instead of just variations on a rectangle.

  4. Seriously I agree Mike. This guy or gal just has nothing to do but complain about Obama until he gets his next welfare payout or disability payment. I flagged him just based on his choice of bigoted name.!

  5. Good grief, even your jokes are tired and stale. Why are you even here? Shouldn’t you be off whining about Obama’s fake birth certificate on some crackpot far right conspiracy website?

  6. The skeptics are probably both right and wrong. They’re right, in that the first generation foldable screens are likely not going to be all that great. They’re wrong, because if companies never took risks with immature technologies, we’d never get anywhere. The first digital watches were pretty crap, but they were just good enough to find a market, and within a few years they had improved beyond all recognition. It’s the same with virtually every new technology that comes on the market (that isn’t a direct replacement, anyway).

  7. “can be folded and unfolded 100 times” – given the fact it’s supposed to be a smartphone it should be good for… 10 days? Maybe?

    1. did you go to a government school…The LG foldable display is said to feature a plastic board and a touch panel that works even after the display has been folded and unfolded 100 thousand times.

      1. He misread, mark already corrected him and he acknowledged the mistake… It happens, no need to get nasty about it…

        1. Nastiness is all he knows. I don’t know why this site even allows him to post using a bigoted user name.

      2. No, I’m simply a Trump voter so I wouldn’t know the difference. Seriously, dude, you are 13 hours late.

        1. Don’t pull trump into this and he would definitely say this phone could be HUGE and if you aren’t more accurate on the internet in the future you may be deemed as *insert trump hand gesture* STUPID PEOPLE lmao

      1. Got it. Proceeding to throw ash on my head. Let it be known, that I was, indeed wrong on the Internet.

  8. The folding is cool in its own right but just as much is what it implies – plastic screens. Hopefully very good quality ones. It’d be very nice to be able to fold a phone out into a larger screen but I’d be just as happy in the short term to have a tablet or phone which I did not fear dropping on the ground for worry the screen is gonna smash.

    1. Agreed, though I’ve been waiting since the 90’s for a pocket device that could be unfurled out into a larger layout display :-p

      Some Sci-Fi, like the movie Red Planet or TV shows like Earth: Final Conflict, show how the perfected technology may look like eventually… Merely being able to fold at a given point is a start but eventually it should be that the entire display can be treated like a foil or piece of paper…

      The only potential downside I see right now is the fold is a distortion point for the display that makes it stand out a bit and this doesn’t necessarily mean the device is more durable yet but that should be the next step as they start to perfect the technology…

  9. WOW that’s some impressive hardware. I bet they’re gonna sell HUNDREDS of those things.

    1. Of course, researchers invent new things just so they can sell the first prototypes well. Please, get over the capitalistic frame of mind and think technology FFS.

      1. Superthin OLEDs on plastic substrates will be the next big hype, not only för foldable displays but also for monochrome lighting sources.

        German car makers Audi and BMW are now in joint-venture with LG Display and Novaled (Samsung Electronics have acquired Novaled) for developing ROLED=Red OLED as rear lights on car bodies.Development of WOLED=White OLED is BMW in joint-venture with BASF(Geman chemical company in all kinds of organic chemistry) and Philips for ceiling liight source inside cars.

        Audi, new E-tron, electric car concept, use Amoled displays inside in combination with video cams outside and mirrors outside.

        WOLED will be a multi-billion market, when that light source concept will be launched.
        Especially inside buildings.

  10. I think this is only threat to project Ara because I don’t see google being able to imitate this on a modular phone

    1. You’re thinking in terms of traditional phone design with the screen encased within the framework of the whole device but the screen can be it’s own layer component… Like they could create a self contained screen that the rest of the phone just attaches to at a given point and then the screen can be folded either on itself or around the device and still leave the rest of the device as a modular phone…

      Worst case is it may make the device a bit thick in the first gen, and even second gen, models…

      1. Or… maybe the Surface Pro 4 will be released next year and will be a foldable!

        1. I was just getting ready to comment along these lines…. a new hope for a Courier inspired device experience.

          1. Exactly. And what feature of the next generation Surface Pro 4 could grab the public’s attention, especially to set it apart from the iPad Pro?

            Microsoft could afford to do this — a foldable tablet that showcases Windows 10 ability to work with this form factor. Unlike Apple, they make most of their money from software and services.

          2. Imagine a wide screen tablet that folds open and closed like a magazine two-page spread. One of the screens could be set to show a virtual keyboard, so you could use this device like a mini-notebook.

            But if you want to use a real keyboard, you fold it open, and then attach a keyboard (which also works as a protective cover) along one edge of its length — like the way the Surface Pro 3 works.

            So imagine the Surface Pro 3 without its keyboard. And imagine if you could fold it upon itself vertically. Maybe this is the Surface Pro 4.

          3. I think that’d be pretty cool, but the one thing think that could set them apart in the new paradigm of split screen “multitasking” would be be the interactive experience between two apps or simultaneously displayed panels as originally proposed by the Courier concept that has yet to be addressed by Apple or Google. As stands, I don’t think either of those two could pull off a drag and drop level of pen based synergy like Microsoft.

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