There is much ongoing investment into the research and design to development, produce and commercialise flexible display substrates. The flexible display of the future is likely to use some form of plastic substrate. This will necessitate research into new materials, new manufacturing processes and production techniques.
At the time of writing, TVs are going curved, as have some smartphones. It seems that many of the suggested ideas and applications for flexible displays are initially being seen as a ‘retrofit’ into a product or system that currently uses a fixed and rigid display i.e. phones, tablets, e-readers, smart watches, wearables etc.
The arrival (and unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball) of truly commercialised, mass produced flexible displays will surely see the birth of new products and systems that will take advantage of the benefits (robustness, durability, portability, flexibility) that they will provide.
Also to be considered however is the fact that the flexible display of the future will require power, electronics, and very likely a user interface. So, I think it’s fairly safe to say flexible, bendy, rollable displays are coming. And perhaps at some point even foldable displays. There are however many questions still to be asked and problems to be solved.
I look forward to seeing the first, genuinely new, real world applications that use flexible displays.
It must be said however, paper continues to work really well.