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Busted: Why I Can't Wait for Flexible Displays

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When I got up this morning, I threw my Kindle in my bag's padded courdoroy laptop sleeve like I always do. A few hours later, I pulled it out and it looked like this.

Granted, this is partially my fault—I didn't keep it in the ugly cover that comes with the Kindle, just like I don't lock my iPhone or any other gadget in disfiguring covers, since I'm all about naked gadgets (almost entirely for aesthetic reasons), and I thought my bag's padded sleeve provided sufficient protection. Apparently it does not when you have a heavy DSLR on the other side of the stuffing and some guy slams into your bag.


A book made out of dead trees would've buckled and creased and returned to its original shape. So would a reader with a flexible display like Plastic Logic's, which at one point was said to withstand getting smacked by a shoe. Which actually takes it one step closer to emulating books than the more fragile Kindle or any other E-Ink powered reader—too bad Plastic Logic's reader is about a year away. (Though it says something about the Kindle that I'd sort of taken to treating it almost like a real book, and that this is the first time I'd actually materially felt the gap between it and paper.)


The story for other kinds of flexible displays, like bendy OLED, is actually even more depressing, since "progress" at this point means they're now 5 years away. Given how easy it is break screens, and how much we depend on them now—witness the slow recession buttons, though I'm sure they'll experience a retro counter-touch resurgence—rugged displays that we can treat like organic materials instead of delicate magic under the constant threat of destruction by mere everyday living might be more revolutionary than expected.

Or maybe I'll just have to learn to be more careful. [Giz's Kindle Review]