Samsung, at Global Tech Korea 2021, has unveiled a new take on its flexible screens. Well, flexible is the wrong term — the South Korean company is billing this particular 13in OLED panel as ‘stretchable’, because that’s just what it does.
Its presentation consists of a 2D image of lava flow, augmented by bumps and curves that make it look as though the liquid-hot magma is bubbling and boiling on the screen. Which, you know, is pretty and all but not massively useful at this point.
Samsung needs this… why?
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the company do something like this. Back in 2017, we saw a similar demonstration, but it wasn’t quite as mobile as the magma presentation we’re looking at here. The difference between the two is that this panel is noticeably stretchier than previous efforts — and Samsung’s also splurged on whatever they’ve stuck under the display to create the 3D effect.
Is it hugely practical? No, not yet. But the company spent years teasing its flexible screen tech before we ever saw the first Galaxy Z Fold handset, so it’s not out of the question that we’ll see this tech in something vaguely useful at some point.
It’s unlikely to turn up in a smartphone, though, at least with these capabilities. A stretchable screen would be better suited to digital signage, where people can see it flex and move in set patterns but can’t actually touch it. Or, perhaps, the tech-maker will use it to completely replace laptop keyboards. That’d be an interesting usage we’d be quite willing to try out.