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Exploring the Applications for Flexible Display Tech

There are numerous applications for flexible display technology. That being said, smart watches will likely provide the biggest opportunity for flexible displays in the short term.

A number of new smart watch vendors have incorporated some form of flexible display technology to maximize the screen size of the small device.

ABI Research believes most of the digital smart watches -- and other fitness and health wearable devices -- will incorporate a flexible display over the next eighteen months due to the robust and rugged characteristics of the displays.

Furthermore, flexible displays or e-ink displays could be used as secondary displays on smartphones and media tablets.

Phablets are predicted to be a key application for secondary displays -- it is anticipated more than 6 percent of annual phablet shipments could include the display type in 2015.

"Samsung's YOUM technology (flexible display) has been highly publicized and it is clearly understandable why people can see the Wow factor in the technology. Nevertheless, the use of the technology in smartphones and tablets is still unlikely to become hugely popular in the next twelve months,” said Joshua Flood, senior analyst at ABI Research.

There are a number of questions that need to be addressed. First and foremost, how useful is a flexible display on a mobile device like a smartphone?

Samsung and LG have been pushing their new display technologies and several prototype devices have been broadcasted over the last twelve months. However, how flexible displays can really add value or enhance user experiences for key mobile devices is still unclear.

Nevertheless, the concept flexible display mobile devices should not be abandoned. For example, eReaders have been a key application for the technology used in flexible displays for some time.

But the future of the eReader market is uncertain, as global shipments continue to decline and the popularity of media tablets continues at a fast pace.

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