(Pocket-lint) – One of the best things about technology shows is that you get a glimpse into the future. You’ll walk the halls, digest the press releases and marvel at the tech of today, but it’s the little details about tomorrow that are always the most engaging.
At IFA 2022, it finally feels like we have reached that moment for flexible OLED devices.
OLED is an interesting case. I remember setting eyes on the Sony OLED XEL-1 in 2008, the 11-inch Sony TV that was the first OLED TV you could buy in Europe, which is around the time that OLED hype really took off in the consumer space.
Every year since we’ve seen concepts and demonstrations on what you might be able to do with this display technology that uses a flexible panel rather than something that’s adhered to glass.
We’ve been shown FOLED, P-OLED, and many other things in many other forms, with LG often being the biggest proponent of the potential for pliable OLED displays. That’s not surprising, as they manufacture most of them.
That’s the beauty of a show like IFA – you’ll have LG Electronics showing off its consumer products fused with LG Display showing off these panels contorted into amazing shapes. And now it all makes sense.
One of the things that’s impressed us the most at IFA 2022 is the LG OLED Flex, a 42-inch display that’s really pitched at gamers and will let you change it from flat to curve at the press of a button.
That means it can be great for watching TV, but then curved when gaming to make it more immersive. It’s a multi-role screen, ideal for a bedroom or dorm room where you want the best of both worlds. You get your cake and you get to eat it.
LG isn’t the only company showing off such a monitor: Corsair has the Xeneon Flex, a 45-inch monitor offering the same functions – but don’t overlook the fact that this also features an LG Display panel.
We’ve seen curved displays for years – Samsung had a huge run of offering curved TVs – but it’s the ability to transform that’s now with us and that’s what makes the difference.
It’s not just TVs though. IFA 2022 has also put a price on the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, a laptop that’s basically all display, giving you a 17-inch folding panel in the middle, leaving you with the option to choose how to use it.
Again it’s not a completely new idea, as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold originally landed in 2020, but has also been updated to a second-gen version at IFA 2022. That means there’s choices out there for the folding laptop you might choose.
The advent of folding monitors and folding laptops might make folding phones seem a little passe, but they’re really not. We know Samsung likes to experiment and the Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold devices have felt a little like an experiment – but we’re now in the fourth generation and foldables are starting to break out of the tech fanzone and into the real world.
We’re seeing an increasing number of folding phones lining up each year, getting incrementally better with each step – how long can it be before Apple steps up to the plate and makes the whole thing positively mainstream?
What this feels like is that tipping point after a decade of demos from these displays. It’s all starting to make sense as the technology that can allow your display to be bendy is more than just a bit of science fantasy, it’s science fact.
Writing by Chris Hall.