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November 29, 2005 - Samsung yesterday announced the development of the world’s largest flexible LCD display, at 7 inches along the diagonal. With a pair of bendable plastics sandwiching the liquid crystal in between, it can be freely shaped while displaying resolutions of up to 640 x 480 (VGA).
The flexible LCDs were developed with the aid of another South Korean company, SoftPixel Inc, and has indirectly received funding from the Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy.
Samsung claims that lowering the temperature during key phases of the production process, during which heat could deform certain components, is largely responsible for the breakthroughs in sizable displays with sharp picture quality.
Samsung first announced the development of a flexible LCD prototype earlier this year in mid-January, which was only 5 inches on the diagonal. At the time Samsung expected flexible LCDs to be commercialized in products by 2007, and so far they have not revised their estimate.
In late October of this year, L.G. Philips LCD and E Ink developed a flexible display that was 10.1 inches on the diagonal, but this display is not a true LCD in the traditional sense. Dubbed "E Ink Imaging Film," it does utilize the TFT construction process but also contains a type of flexible steel foil, and can hold images without a backlight or without power.
E Ink CEO Russ Wilcox foresees displays that "are 80% thinner and lighter than glass displays, and… do not break like glass displays. You can roll them up and put them in your pocket. You can curve them around the outside of a cellphone. Or you can throw them in your briefcase like a newspaper."
Samsung spokesman Lee Jae Min said that small consumer electronics would be the first items to incorporate their flexible LCDs, and did not rule out the possibly of displays that could eventually be wearable—on glasses, helmets, or other accessories.