Smartphones that unfold to become tablets, adjustable curved TVs and pop-up presentation screens are just some of a radical new wave of product concepts made possible by advances in flexible display technology, highlighted in the latest research report from Futuresource Consulting.
Currently, the industry is in a phase of ‘limited flexibility’, commonly referred to as ‘conformed displays’. Displays may be shaped, but are normally supported in situ with limited, if any, manipulation available to the end-user.
However, ‘fully flexible’ devices will be viable within the next one-to-two years, allowing repeatedly foldable or rollable screens. New materials and design processes will drive innovation and, in some cases, completely new usage models.
The CE market is likely to lead the way with over a quarter of all new smartphones by 2026 featuring flexible screens, which among other attributes, will render them unbreakable. As manufacturing costs reduce, the potential for bespoke signage and pull-down whiteboards are some of several commercial B2B applications to be realized.
“The value of products involving flexible displays will surge to over $200 billion within five years and approach $300 billion within a decade. This strong growth is anticipated due to range of product benefits it creates from increased robustness, design differentiation and ease of display manufacturing customization through to new applications such as e-paper, e-fashion and home appliances,” comments David Tett, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting.
‘Unbreakable’ products will become a reality, reducing the need for manufacturers to handle returns and service, while bespoke signage will be easier to produce and could offer users the added benefits of adjustability and reuse.
“Technology is advancing from first generation displays which have been flexed during the manufacturing process to be curved but are not able to have their shape manipulated by the end-user, toward a second-generation product,” adds Tett.
Current examples of products within this category include curved TVs and Samsung’s ‘Edge’ mobile devices. These are often referred to as ‘conformed’ displays. “Futuresource defines second generation displays as ‘truly flexible’. These displays can be folded, rolled, bent or otherwise have their shape manipulated and altered by the end-user.
“It remains to be seen which designs enabled by flexible displays will appeal to the market, but attributes like increased robustness and ease of customized manufacturing will drive vendor adoption regardless,” says Tett.
Futuresource’s ‘The Opportunity for Flexible Displays in the CE & B2B Markets’ market report outlines the use case scenarios that flexible displays can bring to various products, together with the opportunities and inhibitors that exist in both consumer and B2B categories.
(For more information visit http://futuresource-consulting.com.)