Youm. How the hell do you pronounce that? We don’t know, but we better polish up on our Korean, because that’s what Samsung intends to call their new AMOLED screens. What makes them special compared to the Super AMOLED Plus displays currently on the market? Instead of the display using glass, it’ll use film. The benefits are numerous, but the two that immediately stand out are durability and flexibility. Samsung says Youm screens will be unbreakable, which is a pretty wild claim. There’s a hammer somewhere in our office that we’ll be using to test that. But the coolest feature, bar none, is flexibility. Youm displays will be able to bend, which means we should start seeing some pretty interesting smartphone designs instead of the now dated stereotypical black slab.
The key question is when? When will we be able to buy a phone that uses this new technology? The video above was shot in January 2011. Samsung is saying Youm will be out in 2012, which has a little more than 9 months left in it. And what if Samsung slips to 2013? We’re not going to be crying our eyes out or anything, but we just want you to know what to expect. There’s also the question of software. How is your home screen supposed to respond if the edges are curved? How do pull down notifications work if your thumb falls off the edge of the device? All this will be figured out, we’re sure of it, and we’ll be here to report any and all advances that are made in flexible screen technology.
While we’re on the subject of screens, we’d like to point out that there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of sharpness. Apple likes to say that 300 pixels per inch is this magic threshold, but last year we saw Toshiba demo a screen with 500 pixels per inch. Words can not describe it. We’d rather have that versus something that can bend.