We recently posted a news feature about Samsung showing off high-resolution flexible screens at CES that I highly recommend watching. The demonstration by Samsung is followed by a concept-video where you can basically unfold your phone into a tablet or vice-versa showing us a glimpse of what our devices will look like in the next few years. I also remember reading about convergence of screens in a blog post by AMD’s Manish Punjabi on tbreak a few weeks back.
When you think about it, as popular as tablets are, they’re really just a stop gap solution as our personal device until foldable LCDs become the mainstream. The biggest thing that the tablet might be credited for is for getting us used to typing full-fledged on glass surfaces. We started doing that on phones with the launch of the iPhone a few years back and it won’t be long before we’re very very used to it on larger form factors. In fact, it was recently reported that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook ditched the physical keyboard in favour of the iPad in an interview he conducted with NBC last month.
At the moment, there are only two things that really separate tablets from smartphones besides the larger screen. The first is a better/faster processor and the second one is a bigger battery- both possibly because of the larger form factor of the tablet compared to the phone. Processors will continue getting smaller, faster and more power-efficient and while that will help us get better battery life out our devices, we really need to focus on an alternate way of powering our devices that keeps them going for days and weeks and not just hours.
I doubt we’ll get to see such battery technology by the time foldable LCDs become mainstream so we might have to wait until the idea of one screen that becomes our phone/tablet/laptop is realised. But it’s one that I’m very much looking forward to. Exciting times ahead.