If you look around at people while they use their phones, you'll see that a significant number of people have broken displays. Sometimes it's just a smashed touchscreen, but I've seen people continuing to use phone long after the liquid crystal layers has smashed and started leaking. While improved glass strength has done wonders for making sure this doesn't happen, Samsung's taking things further by announcing new 'unbreakable' screens.
The new flexible smartphone panels have been certified by UL, the official testing company for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. Evidently this process involves putting the panels through rigorous real-time durability tests based on existing military standards. So when Samsung says unbreakable it's more than just a marketing term that means very little - like 'unlimited' data plans that have fair use clauses attached.
The panel has been developed using an unbreakable substrate attached to a fortified plastic window instead of actual glass. UL claims that it managed to survive 26 drop tests from a height of 1.2 metres/ four feet without any damage. Panels were then dropped from the more typical testing height of 1.8 metres/5 feet 9 inches, and still came away with no visible damage. It sounds like that was only done once, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
On top of that testing found that the panels were also capable of working in extreme temperatures, between 71 and -32 Celsius, without losing any functionality. Which will be great, and means you can continue to play on your phone during all the times you're camping out inside a walk-in freezer.
There's no word when these panels might make it into consumer devices, but it's good to know that there's work being done to protect all our devices and the things they let us do - whether they be smartphones, tablet, games console, or something else entirely. [The Verge]