LAS VEGAS — By showing off a phone with a flexible screen, Samsung is hinting at a day when we might fold up our large phone or tablet screens as if they were maps.
The Korean electronics company provided a glimpse of such a device at a keynote speech Wednesday at the International CES gadget show in Las Vegas. It's an annual showcase of the latest TVs, computers and other consumer-electronic devices.
WHAT IT IS: Brian Berkeley, head of Samsung Electronics Co.'s display lab in San Jose, Calif., demonstrated a phone that consists of a matchbox-size hard enclosure, with a paper-thin, flexible color screen attached to one end. The screen doesn't appear flexible enough to fold in half like a piece of paper, but it could bend into a tube.
The company also showed a video of a future concept, with a phone-sized device that opens up like a book, revealing a tablet-sized screen inside.
HOW IT WORKS: The screen uses organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs. Only a thin layer of these chemicals is needed to produce a bright, colorful screen. They're used in many Samsung phones already, though with glass screens. For the bendable phone, Samsung laid the chemicals over thin plastic instead of glass. That's a trick you can't pull off with liquid crystals in standard displays.