Samsung Display, the division of Samsung that drives the innovation in display form factors, went all-in on OLED for CES 2024. It showed off new foldable phone concepts for the first time, giving us a glimpse at what our future mobile devices might look like.
Now, it's important to differentiate Samsung Display from Samsung Mobile. The Display team is focused on the testing the limits of OLED panels, which includes stress testing and developing concept devices that showcase display capabilities. We've seen all sorts of prototypes come from Samsung Display over the years, but it's usually the flexible phones that catch our attention.
This year, Samsung Display has two new concepts: The Flex Liple and Flex In and Out. No, the first one isn't a typo — it's an attempted portmanteau of "light" and "simple," since the clamshell device looks a bit more minimalistic that we saw from the likes of the Galaxy Z Flip 5. It ditches an outer display for a smidge of spillover.
The top of the Flex Liple's internal display extends over the top edge of the device, offering a sliver of viewable screen when it's closed. The idea is that you can see a quick glance at information, such as the time, local temperature and notification alerts.
Meanwhile, the Flex In and Out takes more of a maximalist screen approach. In addition to folding open like a typical clamshell, it bends completely the in half towards the other direction. I'm not sure why I'd need my smartphone to be this flexible, but it's certainly an interesting concept. I also like how, when it's folded in, a portion of the interior screen is still visible for offering an abbreviated look at useful information.
Samsung Display is also responsible for making sure that the screens of OLED devices are able to withstand the elements. The last thing someone wants is a smartphone they're perpetually nervous about breaking, right? As part of this year's CES demonstration, I engaged with some interactive stress tests. I saw how the displays can safely fold and unfold in extreme heat or extreme cold, plus how they're safe against scratches from sand and water when fully submerged.
Again, the devices I saw are just Samsung Display prototypes, most of which have nothing to do with, say, the rumored Galaxy Z Fold 6. But it's always possible that the innovations from Samsung Display could make their way to real products down the line.
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Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.