Samsung Display today announced that it has developed an unbreakable smartphone display panel which has been duly certified by UL (Underwriters Laboratories). The new display opens a new world of possibilities and it can be used in devices other than smartphones as well including display consoles for automobiles, military devices, tablet PCs, and more.
The unbreakable display features a flexible OLED panel with an unbreakable substrate and an overlay window on top of it for additional security. In comparison, flexible OLED panels in the market currently make use of glass window which can easily shatter on impact.
“The fortified plastic window is especially suitable for portable electronic devices not only because of its unbreakable characteristics, but also because of its lightweight, transmissivity and hardness, which are all very similar to glass,” said Hojung Kim, general manager of the Communication Team, Samsung Display Company.
The tests conducted by Underwriters Laboratories stress tested the unbreakable panel by dropping it from a height of 1.2m (4ft) 26 times in succession along with exposing it to a range of varying high and low temperatures. The display continued to work normally even after these drop tests, and it even managed to survive a 1.8m (6ft) drop test without showing any signs of damage.
It is likely that we will see Samsung make use of this unbreakable OLED panel in its foldable smartphone due for launch early next year. While an unbreakable display panel sounds good, the use of a plastic window will lead to a decline in display quality. Additionally, plastic is far easier to scratch than glass which means that if not used properly, the unbreakable display panel will be covered in scratches on whichever device it is used.
Samsung is not the first company to come up with an unbreakable display. Motorola used a similar technique for the display on the Moto Force/Droid Turbo series of handsets which it advertised as coming with a shatterproof display. As tests conducted by YouTubers on the smartphone showed, the display was definitely unbreakable but it could be very easily covered with scratches.
Given that Apple sources display panels from Samsung, it is possible that we can see the Cupertino company use the unbreakable display on the sports variant of the Apple Watch.