Samsung today announced a new “unbreakable” OLED display panel that could eventually end up being used in future iPhones.
In a press release, the South Korean tech giant said that its new OLED panel had just been certified by Underwriters Laboratory — a company that does testing for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The Underwriters Laboratory had subjected the new OLED panel to a wide range of rigorous testings based on military durability standards.
- The unbreakable OLED panel reportedly survived 26 successive drops from a height of 1.2 meters (about 4 feet) in various temperatures, from 71 degrees to -32 degrees Fahrenheit.
- It even operated normally after a 6-foot drop, which Samsung points out is higher than U.S. military standards.
Samsung said its flexible OLED panel uses an unbreakable substrate adhered to a plastic “overlay window.” That differs from the standard flexible OLED panels used on most modern smartphones, which are adhered to a glass-covered window. Glass, as we all know, is prone to cracking.
“The fortified plastic window is especially suitable for portable electronic devices not only because of its unbreakable characteristics, but also because of its lightweight, transmissivity and hardness, which are all very similar to glass,” said Samsung’s Display Hojung Kim.
Flexible OLED panels, particularly unbreakable ones, have a wide range of uses beyond smartphones. Samsung notes that its new panel could be found in built-in car displays, military devices, portable game consoles, and tablet-computer hybrids.
Samsung, as well as Apple, have been working on flexible OLED display technology for years.
The timing of the announcement is worth noting, too. CNET Senior Reporter Shara Tibken points out that Samsung is likely only a few weeks away from debuting its Galaxy Note 9 device.
With an official UL certification, the flexible OLED tech is ready for use in consumer products — so it’s possible that Samsung could be using the new panel in its upcoming smartphones.
Aside from using the tech in its own devices, Samsung Display is also the chief supplierof OLED panels for Apple’s iPhone. There’s no indication that this arrangement is going to change in the near future, so it’s possible that iPhones could sport the new flexible OLED technology sometime in the future.