Apple iWatch to Feature Same Tech to Nokia Folding OLED Display

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By Karla Danica Figuerres | June 12, 2014 4:10 PM EST

Earlier this month, Nokia has launched two foldable, 5.9-inch OLED panels at the Display Week Conference in San Diego, according to Nikkei Tech.

The panels were reportedly jointly developed by Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (SEL) Co Ltd, Advanced Film Device (AFD) Inc. (a subsidiary of SEL) and Nokia Corp.

The companies announced the display at conference in San Diego, an academic conference on display technologies, showing two types of the new display in an interview.

One of the panels created by the Finnish tech company can be folded down the middle, while the other one can be folded in two places similar to a pamphlet. Both 1280 x 720 pixel displays can provide video even while folded. Notably, the two panels were created using a special technique that sandwiches the color filter, TFT and OLED layers between flexible substrate and  sealer.

Although both panels cannot be folded completely like a piece of paper, the fold radius of the panels is really small and each can be folded and unfolded more than 100,000 times. The single-fold panel can withstand 2 mm curvature, while the dual-fold display can be bent to 4 mm.

Despite Apple publicly criticizing OLED technology in the past, it was rumored to have changed tune with regard to the upcoming iWatch.

Recent reports claimed Apple plans to use a curved, flexible OLED display for the iWatch that would allow a sleek and form-fitted design.

Although concept devices showcasing folded or curved designs have existed for more than a decade already, the only products to make their debut with the technology have been televisions and mobile phones only.

Undoubtedly, the Cupertino tech giant's ample engineering resources can put the company in a special position to fully realize the potential of OLED displays to create totally new device designs.

Meanwhile, Apple has also been showing interest in foldable OLED displays for mobile phones, as manifested by its application of several related patents.

One of the patents covers iPhones with wraparound and interactive displays, while another patent involves deals with using flexible OLED displays to create a "pressable" panel. 

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