Imagine if you could roll up your smartphone into a cylinder the size of of a 35mm film canister. You could squeeze a phablet into the skinniest of skinny jeans. Samsung is close to making that scenario a reality, thanks to a prototype rollable AMOLED screen.
Unveiled at the SID Display Week 2016 conference in San Francisco, Samsung's rollable display extends to 5.7 inches, a little big larger than the 5.5-inch panel on the Galaxy S7 Edge and the same size as the Galaxy Note 5. While not as sharp the quad HD screens on those phones, this rollable 1920 x 1080-pixel display measures just 0.3 millimeters thick and weighs just 5 grams, and it has a radius of about 10mm when furled.
According to Chris Davies at Slashgear, who saw the rollable display in action, it looks every bit as rich and colorful as the screens you'll find on Samsung's current flagship phones. However, this panel requires external power and doesn't have a touch layer, so a phone or other gadget with this kind of screen would obviously be heavier and bulkier.
Nevertheless, rollable displays have a lot of potential for wearable devices, virtual reality headsets and other gadgets that could benefit from more flexible screens. According to the Korea Herald, true rollable devices could include TVs and tablet computers.
There is also a possible phone on the horizon for 2017 in the Galaxy X, which could be the first handset to utilize a rollable display like this, but up until now the rumors have pointed to a less ambitious foldable design.