Smartphones are expensive and can be fragile, which means that breakages are costly to the user. But with the emergence of new display technologies in South Korea and the U.S., next generation devices might be hardier than ever. What will this mean for the consumer?
There is little more annoying or heartbreaking than accidentally dropping a smartphone or putting it in your bag or pocket only to hear an unpleasant crunch as it succumbs to piled-on pressure or a sudden impact.
For this reason many people choose to buy protective cases or iphone covers so that their gadget, which is worth several hundred pounds, does not come to any mischief.
Of course, there are lots of different types of iPhone covers that offer varying levels of protection, from scratch-resistant silicone examples to more expensive and comprehensive leather holsters and pouches.
Mobile manufacturers have been working hard to make modern smartphones more durable than ever and the use of Gorilla Glass technology, in particular, has in part helped to lower the likelihood of your phone’s screen smashing or cracking.
Tough New Solutions
The good news is that there are a couple of new developments on the horizon that could make mobile displays tougher and less liable to breakages.
The first comes from Samsung, which has spent several years developing OLED display technology and is now allegedly getting ready to mass produce a completely flexible screen using this type of panel.
It has been going up against rivals, including Sony and LG, to crack the flexible display production techniques that will probably make smartphones of the future able to bend, flex and even survive being rolled up into a cylinder.
If mass production does indeed begin before the end of the year, then Samsung might be selling its first flexible handsets in 2013, providing the rest of the technology is up to the task.
Meanwhile, at Stanford University in the U.S., scientists have been working on a smartphone display, which is able to actively repair itself after it is grazed, cut or impacted in some way.
Researchers have created a type of screen that can to all intents and purposes heal itself in the same way as the human body, which means that damage will not be permanently visible on a screen and you will not need to take your phone in for expensive repairs.
This will not completely remove the need for the use of smartphone cases, because carelessness or bad luck could still result in faults and malfunctions with either of these new technologies. However, it paints an interesting picture of what future smartphones will be able to achieve.
For the time being you will need to wrap up your handset in the case of your choice or treat it very gingerly if you want to prevent an expensive accident from occurring. It will often cost just as much to buy a new smartphone, as it will to fix an existing one. With flexible, self-healing displays still some time away from hitting the market, you will have to make do with the products on offer today.
Steve Clifton writes articles and blog posts for a broad array of sites and blogs, commenting on the state of the tech market and where it is heading in the future. He has also purchased his fair share of iPhone covers over the years, hoping to mitigate his clumsiness as a result. When your job involves lots of travel, accidents will happen.