Smartphones screens have seen a rapid progression from thick bezels to notches, hole punches, and now foldables. However, while the Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold struggle to get off the ground, BOE is working on the next form factor, and it appears to be even more pointless.
At the SID Display Week, Armdevice's Charbax talked to BOE reps, who unveiled a 12.3-inch rollable device. The screen is clearly in the early stages, being far too big, bulky, and currently sporting no touchscreen functionality.
Though the tech itself is impressive, it's unclear what the benefit would be in smartphones. The protoype showcased by BOE is large, but even when streamlined, a roll of phone is likely to be even more uncomfortable in the pocket. Samsung also hit the news recently for a rollable phone patent, so it seems the industry may be heading in this direction.
However, while =the use case in smartphones isn't convincing, tablets could prove more interesting. It's not the first time BOE or others have shown off a rollable display, but it's one of the smallest. Being able to roll up a tablet and throw it in a bag could be intuitive while allowing for more unique aspect ratios.
Rollable displays also have potential in other environments. A display could wrap around a pillar or pull down from a wall like a projector screen for commercial scenarios. BOE even showcased a lamp with a screen wrapped around it.
Foldables, 8K, and More
Meanwhile, BOE's latest foldable display appears closer to perfection than Samsung's efforts. It appears to avoid the noticeable fold of the Fold and Mate X, has minimal bezels, and was presented in a fully functional device.
The company also showed off micro-displays, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio display, 8K VR display, and a notebook with a mini-LED, 240Hz HDR display. While it's unlikely all of these will make it to market, experimenting without a use-case in mind can often uncover new applications.