The Samsung Galaxy Round: Why the Curved Smartphone Display is Truly Innovative

F_006_Dynamic2_Black-610x424The world’s first curved smartphone display is official: The Samsung Galaxy Round. Looking at comments on the new odd looking new design, I realized how little some people understand why these flexible OLED displays are truly innovative.  The Samsung Galaxy Round has a flexible OLED display which cannot be bent by the user. Samsung bent the display around a curved case to highlight the technology. They could have placed it on a flat design. Still, the new display is lighter, thinner and much more durable compared to glass-based displays. The new flexible OLED on the Samsung is just 0.12 mm thick. Just as thick as the thinnest layer of purely protective Corning Gorilla Glass 3. And yes, it should survive a drop test much better.

With Samsung’s current design, the front glass will be less likely to impact a hard surface should it fall and hit a pavement. At the same time, the display itself is inherently more resistant to shatter damage. When the technology is perfected, these flexible OLED displays will be virtually shatter proof. Combined with water and dust resistant technology and impact resistant materials, you may soon see the coming of virtually indestructible devices that do not rely on 5 mm of plastic and rubber to keep them safe.

At the same time, the flexible OLED display will eventually allow smartphone manufacturers to make devices a bit narrower and ergonomic. At present, the Samsung Galaxy Round appears to be a bit wider than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, both of which have 5.7-inch displays. But this is a first generation device. Still the Galaxy Round is thinner and lighter than the Galaxy Note 3.

In terms of ergonomics, with today’s flat glass front panels, you have thin designs with flat back panels. While thin and flat is impressive to look at, it really does not sit ergonomically well with our curved hands. Motorola did a good one with the Moto X by curving the back of the phone resulting in a not so sexy 10.4 mm thickness when you read the specifications sheet. But really, the 10.4 mm Moto X is actually more comfortable in the hand than those 6-7 mm designs you see with slab sides and flat backs. The curved OLED displays allow you to combine thin and light, with ergonomic.

Later generations of flexible OLED devices will allow the user to actually bend or even fold the display. This will bring a whole new set of possibilities to mobile device design. It is pretty much a certainty that smart watches and other wearable tech will benefit from flexible OLED displays.

That being said, do not be so eager to dismiss the new technology. Most likely, in one or two years’ time, your favorite smartphone will be sporting a flexible OLED display.

Image Source: Samsung Tomorrow