Samsung Display last week announced a new type of OLED panel that the South Korean display maker says is virtually “unbreakable”. To illustrate the point, they released an interesting video showing a sheet of flexible OLED panel withstanding some heavy hammering.
The new panel is verified by Underwriters Laboratories, an official testing company for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor.
Samsung may use it in Note 9, which will be announced on August 9.
The way this new flexible OLED panel has been realized is by leveraging an unbreakable substrate with a fortified plastic window securely adhered to it, as opposed to having a glass-covered window like you see on today’s screens which often breaks when severely impacted.
Here’s that reliability test video.
Underwriters Laboratories has found the new panel to pass durability tests based on US Department of Defense military standards. It withstood a waist-high 1.2-meter drop 26 times in succession, as well as temperature tests at 71 degrees and -32 degrees.
Even after a subsequent drop test administered at 1.8 meters (nearly 6 feet) above the ground—higher than the US military standard— it operated normally with no sign of damage.
On paper, it’s better than Gorilla Glass 6—a major improvement over its predecessor, the new Corning glass can survive 15 drops from a height of 1 meter (3.2 feet) without shattering.
Samsung did not detail how scratchable its newly-launched plastic screen is.
In addition to smartphones, the new strengthened OLED panel should be used in other electronic products such as display consoles for automobiles, mobile military devices, portable game consoles and tablet PCs aimed at education.
Apple currently buys all its OLED panels for iPhone X from Samsung Display, but other suppliers are expected to jump in within a year or two. It’s unclear if Apple plans on using this “unbreakable” screen given it’s been using cover glass protection for iPhones from US-based Corning Glass, in which it invested $200 million in May 2017.
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