LG shows flexible smartphone screen, but no bendable phones yet

There’s good news and bad news for the start of the week, and both centre around mobile phones and the future of flexible screen technology.

The good news is pretty awesome, with LG announcing it will be making OLED panels for smartphones in a way that makes them flexible.

Built from plastic over glass, the LG flexible OLED display is essentially bendable and less likely to break, with LG’s people going so far as to call it “unbreakable,” all the while being lighter than current displays.

“The flexible display market is expected to grow quickly as this technology is expected to expand further into diverse applications including automotive displays, tablets and wearable devices,” said Dr. Sang Deog Yeo, LG’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the display division of the company.

“Our goal is to take an early lead in the flexible display market by introducing new products with enhanced performance and differentiated designs next year.”

More exciting still is that smartphones using this technology could be seen as early as this year, which is quite cool, too.

Now for the bad: flexible displays doesn’t necessarily mean flexible phones, which is the side of things people don’t normally understand. Just because a phone has a flexible display, doesn’t mean all the other bits and pieces – processors, memory, wireless and communications chips, and the battery – are flexible too.

So while you might have a flexible display coming, it won’t likely result in phone you can roll or fold-up just yet. That’s a way off still.

Flexible screen technology helps, though, by delivering a display that can survive more damage. When its hit on its corner or a side, it’s less likely to break because it has the ability to flex during stress. Likewise, it also means that screens can be curved to match the slight contour of the face, essentially resulting in phone designs that can be slightly comfier when held against the side of your head.

We’re sure there are more possibilities the engineers will think of, but for the moment, don’t mistake a flexible screen for a bendable phone.