HP to deliver flexible display prototypes to army this year | webOS Nation

HP to deliver flexible display prototypes to army this year

by Dieter Bohn Mon, 17 Jan 2011 1:06 pm EST

We've seen HP CTO Phil McKinney bring out his flexible display prototype a few times now - hinting at a future where surfaces as disparate as your wrist and your wall will be festooned with the magical tech. Thin, lightweight, and lower power, the technology has been in HP's labs for several years now. Well, as Mercury News reports, HP is finally set to ship a product with the display on board - albeit it in prototype form and to the US Army:

Later this year, Hewlett-Packard researchers say, they expect to deliver to the U.S. Army a working prototype of what they're calling a "Dick Tracy wristwatch" — a lightweight, wearable device that soldiers in the field can use to view digital maps and other data on a flexible plastic screen that won't shatter or crack like glass.

While the display is flexible, the rest of the technology certainly isn't. However, HP's director of advanced display research, Carl Taussig, did hint that we could see the tech on smartphones and tablets (presumably webOS-based):

Long before those hit the market, however, flexible plastic displays will provide tablets, smartphones and other portable computers with big screens that weigh less and are far more durable than today's models

We still aren't expecting the tech on consumer products anytime soon - although if you're feeling like dreaming, we will note that in the invitation to HP's event on February 9th they exhorted us to Think Small and HP's Todd Bradley did tell his employees to expect the "smallest smartphone ever." Us, we'll be dreaming of a flexible-display, webOS-based watch to go along with our phones, slates, netbooks, printers, and toasters.