Curved screens are like the 21st Century version of the science Leonardo da Vinci employed when painting his Mona Lisa – you can see the same picture from all angles.
These screens claim an immersive viewing experience – a feeling of being wrapped up by the picture. It sounds cozy, but is this technology the future of electronics? If we are going to find ourselves watching movies on cinema-style curved televisions and chatting on shapely mobile phones, we should understand how it works and whether it advances this technology.
Advancements in technology have allowed for flexible materials to be used in products that were previously limited by the rigid property of glass.
Screens can be made two ways – curved screens are bent at a subtle angle and flexible screens are able to bend back and forth to shift between flat and curved.
Behind the glass used in this technology is Corning®, which has developed Willow, a thin, high-performance flexible glass. Willow can conduct electricity and support LED and OLED (organic light-emitting diode) color filters.
The thinner the glass used, the more flexible the screens. Even if this science is still relatively new, the ability to curve and flex glass is a big step toward the future of electronics.
Many contend that the curved design creates better aesthetics, ergonomics and performance. New York Times Tech Writer Molly Wood attempted in a recent review to debunk claims that the curved design is merely a gimmick. At least for televisions with curved screens, her takeaway was positive. From the “undeniably good looking” design of a curved screen television to the “Mona Lisa effect” of the picture, it passed muster.
These screens use OLED technology to produce a more spectacular, next-generation display.
Mobile phones employing a slightly curved design boast a more comfortable fit for your face and in your back pocket, as well as the immersive cinema-like visual experience when watching videos or playing games.
You could easily argue that curved mobile phones don’t solve any existing problems with flat phones, but novelty or not it’s a compelling new idea for phone shape, and does offer some new features.
LG has put out the G Flex, which, despite the name, is not flexible but boasts a slight curve on the horizontal axis. Somewhat similar is Samsung’s Galaxy Round, which is curved along the vertical axis. Both offer some new features, including controls that work when the screen is off. Further, the displays using flexible glass are less fragile, and have fewer visual reflections.
As for television screens, the curved design certainly looks sleek, and can fit a larger screen size into a smaller width with fewer visual reflections. Samsung, LG and Sony currently lead this market, first showing up in 2013, but are not cheap at between $4,000 and $6,000.
Despite the cost, the technology behind an immersive viewing experience just may lead the change in the way we watch television shows and movies in our homes.
Whether or not you like the idea of a curved screen, the concept is certainly one we can get behind, and the science of curved electronics has only just begun. Our ClearView® Audio ClioTM employs a curved acrylic glass membrane to produce rich, room-filling panoramic sound, and is certainly changing the way people experience audio.