Sony Looked at Flexible Displays for Its Smartphone Line

When we talk about smartphone leadership, Sony is not the first name that comes to mind. In a recent interview of Thomas Waldner, Senior Design Manager at Sony Mobile Communications by Trusted Reviews, the executive stated that Sony had been experimenting with the idea of flexible displays for some time. Sony decided not to go down this route as the overall technology is not yet available to make a really flexible smartphone. He mentioned that Sony is actually using a bendable display in its Sony SmartBand Talk device.

Nobody would argue with the view that at this point, flexibility in electronic devices is still wishful thinking, at best. The argument against flexible displays is based on issues with other components such as microprocessors, batteries, etc. which makes a completely flexible smartphone impossible today.

However, a curved display like the LG Curve or the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, may actually add a new functionality to the phone, even without being flexible at all. Trusted Reviews made clear that Waldner foresees a wider adoption of curved displays in rigid phones.

This is an interesting statement. Is Sony saying that looking at flexible smartphones it decided that anything short of fully flexible is not worth their effort? I hope not.

One of the issues with flexible displays is that there are not that many display makers available that could provide sufficient volume for such a device. Samsung seems to be constrained fulfilling its own demand, even after stepping back from pushing the OLED TV idea. Apple just stepped up to using a flexible OLED display in its Apple Watch, where the flexibility of the display is used to add another input mode.

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It seems to me that flexible displays can be used in many different forms, other than the ultimate roll-out smartphone and will certainly be used in much simpler configurations until flexible display technology can actually support such a form factor. This does not make any intermediary product unworthy.

By coincidence this interview was published around the same time that Sony announced a major impairment charge (