Nokia helping to develop bendable OLED smartphone displays

nokia flexible screen

Nokia is working with another company to help develop new bendable OLED display panels that could, in theory, be used in future smartphones. Two prototypes of those displays were shown a few days ago at the SID 2014 academic conference in San Diego.

The display technology, which was co-developed by Semiconductor Energy Laboratory, is made by placing color filter, TFT and OLED layers between two sealing layers and a flexible substrate. In their flat form, the displays measure 5.9 inches with a display resolution of 1280x720.

One of the prototypes shown during the conference could be folded in half, much like a book, with a curvature radius of just 2mm. The other could be folded into three sections. with a radius of 4mm. Both displays could be folded up to 100,000 times, according to the developers.

Of course, these are research prototypes and are nowhere near a commercial release. However, it's clear that development of flexible displays is ongoing and it's only a matter of time before this technology reaches the consumer smartphone and tablet markets.

Source: Nikkei Technology


Reader comments

Nokia helping to develop bendable OLED smartphone displays


That sounds funny to me cause Nokro i.e.Naukar means Servant and then Nokrosoft means Soft Servant lolz!

And I hate Microsoft and love NOKIA. I start to think that WP falls so far behind Android and iOS but I don't want to give up my NL925

We have bendable glass (but not shatter proof glass), partial bendable battery tech, but why would you need to make sockets bend? O_o


You can only brake a car. But you can brake a display if it's on the car you are braking. Otherwise you are breaking.

Imagine being able to carry around a 17" screen in your pocket. No more squinting at a tiny 4" screen anymore!

Try folding 17 inch screen into 4 inch size...i bet you are walking with extra big ball in your pants and it is not yours or hers pleasure :D

Absolutely, besides less cracked/broken screens, you have opened up into another category of hybrid devices.

Think of

Surface Pro "Fold" aka Courier

Surface Phone/Tab. unfolds into a tablet, the tri fold would transform into a phone.

Just think what MS can do with a flexible/foldable display, especially when that other new screen tech comes about where part of the screen morphs into buttons like a keyboard.

thats the question...I would think one reason, to have a smartphone where the screen size doesnt matter...I can imagine the future applications of this kind of tech...for example to have a phablet with 10 inchs that can be 7, 5 or 4  whenever you want and will fit also in your pocket w/o a problem...I dont know..just thinking :P

Guess they will be making bendable video card, wireless cards control boards, etc. You won't be able to bend those pieces, only the display, so I don't see you being able to bend a phablet or tablet as many times as you're saying

OMG55, you're thinking too far outside the box. For a foldable tablet/phone configuration, the non-flexible hardware can be housed in either one of the hard panels that don't bend (i.e. not on the "hinges"). You just need a flex cable to connect those panels for communication between internal parts or powering them up. Although, flexible hardware are already in the pipeline (e.g. flexible circuit boards, antennae, even foldable power storage are in development). It's just a matter of time before the durability problem will be solved with materials research.

Morph has to be the best mobile tech prototype ever. It's actually 6 years old and it puts everything we have these days into a single device.

You really can't think of a use for these?! 10" screen in your pocket, a mobile you can wrap around your wrist and then use flat when in your hand, a 24" screen that rolls up into a tube, displays integrated into clothing or bags...  the list can go on!

These would be mainly stationary devices as all of the other parts will have to be bendable as well

Actually Nokia prototype device that had a bendable display is pretty nice. It took away from using the touch screen and bending the phone to scroll. Pretty met

I wonder if a flexible screen would be less susceptible to breaking? Also flexible screens could be used, not just for bendable phone, but for a phone that had a wraparound screen that perhaps is used for notifications, or menu functions.

A flexible phone could provide a more ergonomic form factor for normal phone conversations. It also provides for wider viewing angles which would probably be more beneficial in a tablet than a smart phone. But eventually, these displays will lead the way for truly bendable or roll-up screens. That way you can increase portability without sacraficing function.

Both displays could be folded up to 100,000 times, according to the developers.

I call BS. You can't even fold a sheet of paper more than 8 or so times. 

They're talkin bout how many times it can be opened and closed, not how many times it can be folded in half ::rolleyes:: and a piece of paper can only be folded properly in half 7 times

Well, regular paper is not designed to, either.

Obviously if a screen is to be bendable it has to sustain such "abuse"

Is this NOKIA doing the research even without its phone division like with what it's doing for 5G technology, or Microsoft for its phone business?

It's Nokia. The REAL Nokia. Nokia retained their R&D division under the new "Technologies" division. That's the division that's working on all sorts of cool projects, including this one ;)

They can later license those technologies to other OEMs or use it on their own mobile devices come 1st January 2016.

Why in the world are phone companies trying to make bendable smartphones??? It's so stupid. What is the benefit??

"oh hey look! I can bend my smartphone!" That's the only thing it will do...

You can bend the screen, but you still can't bend the internal storage and motherboard and CPUs and such. You could probably have the stuff in the middle and have the two sides fold in for a tablet.

Put the hardware on either side with just the screen in the middle, then you can have a 8" screen and fold it to the size that it fits your pocket

They never left it. NSN has hardware. HERE will sooner or later have hardware. And the Technologies division, where this is being developed, can also produce hardware. They just temporarily left the mobile devices business. But they can return to phones in 2016 or whenever they want to other sorts of technological products like smartwatches, screens, etc. Regardless of what they decide to do, R&D will always require the production of hardware. Just not the mass-production of it ;)

That takes manufacturing plants that Nokia doesn't have anymore;)Just because Nokia can come back to the phone market in 2016 doesn't mean it will happen or they want to.Nokia may be content on the piles of money on patent deal's with Microsoft and other OEMs.

Isn't LG already doing this? In fact believe they announced plans for mass production late last year, if I'm not mistaken. Just curious why Nokia would invest in "reinventing the wheel" when they could simply license existing technology.

But if it's flexible how will there be all the electronic components like the circuit boards and stuff? The camera? The SIM card? The buttons? The speaker? The LED's? The processor? Could they make a solid phone with a flexible screen? Like basically a regular phone but the screen is not glass so if you drop it only the outer shell gets damaged?


Great... Bigger screen without having to worry of cracking it when put it in the pocket... I'll be lovely...

I imagine this as an accessory screen to cell phones, for now. Imagine a larger flexible display that can that can show real time mapping, heart rate, weather, distance, and calories burned all at once. This would be displayed from your phone to the display, via Bluetooth or other wireless technology, and it could show you who's calling you by displaying the number at the bottom. Visual voice mail would also work with this, too. It would attach to you forearm in a band form.

Yes, I'm asking a lot, but it is possible.

So what's so cool about this? A 6 inch 720p display is what the LG G Flex have, and the usefulness in that phone is questionable. Samsung already has a 1080p bendable screen, but back to reality, if the rest of the phone isn't flexible, this feature is just a gimmick. Also, Nokia has been teasing flexible display for the last 3 years. Showing more and more of the same concept doesn't bring it any closer to reality. Let's see Nokia or Microsoft actually do something with it sooner rather than later :)

Oooh... I want a "Microsoft Scroll". The perfect blend of ancient and modern, so I can read The Iliad on a scroll as it was originally intended, but as an app.

This makes me hopeful we might actually see one of those communications devices out of "Earth: Final Conflict" someday...