Curved (convex or outside curved) black and white televisions with cathode ray tube were a common sight in the 1980s. They were neither affordable nor as stylish as they are today. The scene of colour TVs started changing by 1990s—they became more stylish, but curves still remained. And then one fine day, flat screen TVs were introduced and since then there had been no looking back. People ditched the curves for the zero-sized LCDs; and today, LED screens are hit with masses.
You can find them everywhere—in your drawing room, in the malls, in banks and other public spaces.
But, now curves are coming back
With improvements in technology, which enables manufacturing of new age displays panels in curved shape possible, we see curved displays becoming mainstream again. The only difference, however, is that they are concave (curved on the inside) rather than convex (curved on the outside like old CRT). Does this mean that we have gone backward rather than going forward? I believe no, it is a step forward as curved displays are not only aesthetically more attractive, but also more immersive when it comes to consuming TV content. Human eyes feel more comfortable watching a concave display with slight curve. The trend is just picking up with the popularity of curved TVs. But it does not end here, we have seen curved screen phone like LG G Flex, Flex 2 which have a concave curve on the display. We also have curved display wearable devices like Samsung Gear Fit which comes with convex displays, which makes it a more ergonomic fit on the wrist and feels more natural too.
It does not end here; curved displays are making an appearance on phones as well. For instance: the Galaxy Note Edge or the recent concept phone by LG that has dual edge displays on both ends.
Why this obsession for edge and curved displays?
While you may argue that it is more of a gimmick, but I feel that there is a bright future for non-flat displays. Why I say so, is because when it comes to the product design it is ergonomics that take the front seat. Samsung Gear Fit is a fine example where a fitness band has been designed with a convex display to fit perfectly on a wrist.
I would not be surprised to see tablets, smart watches and even laptops equipped with curved and edged displays to improve product usability and ergonomics. Edge displays on [r1] smartphones with extra features, controls and buttons on the side display is another good use of technology.
It’s not going to be an easy road
Like is the case with every new technology and product, curved displays would also have to overcome certain roadblocks. I believe manufacturers would have to work towards fulfilling the pricing and demand supply gap, which will arise once they become popular. We have often seen that devices that suddenly become popular fail to fulfil consumers’ demands.
Going forward, curved TVs will become more affordable and economically-viable replacement for the flat screen LCDs or LED TVs, which most of us use these days. Also the edge display on smart phones, which is an elite feature as of now, will become more affordable and common across phones. Edge displays may even find its way on tablets and laptops and enhance the functionality of these devices. With the price drops in the curved display panels, we will see them more often on the wearables like wrist bands, smart watches. Flexible and transparent displays will be the next big thing—when and how, only that remains to be seen.