At the risk of sounding like a shill, Samsung is killing at CES this year. Usually it’s easy to ignore concepts, but you can’t help but wonder at the possibilities of this: A foldable display. Sure, the display device is a bit chunky, but it’s beginning to be applied to design problems that exist right now.
Miniaturization has given us all the tiny gadgets we love, but at the same time, that trend creates severe limitations that designers must solve. For one, as size decreases, usability does as well—think of all the crappy small keyboards you’ve typed on, or the iPhone’s frustrating touch-screen. Meanwhile, having a tiny device means having a fairly tiny screen, and that simply won’t do as more media gets consumed by mobile devices. (One company is already planning to stream live TV to iPhone.) Solutions like a foldable screen offer the chance to nearly double the screen you can fit in a given form factor (creating a five-inch folding device with a nine-inch screen, for example). That’ll provide room for better user interfaces.
Meanwhile, another intriguing development is the folding OLED displays that Universal Display has been promising. These seem a bit far off (the tech was developed for the military, and the device is porky).