Samsung's new screen is a flexible OLED panel that's sandwiched between an "unbreakable substrate" and a fortified plastic window, instead of the glass that's used on most smartphones.
Underwriters Laboratories claims the unbreakable screen passed a "rigorous real-time durability test" based on United States military standards. Going beyond the basic military standard, 1.8 meter drop tests also failed to break or damage the display. Motorola's plastic "ShatterShield" screen prevented some damage to smartphone displays, but they were more prone to scratching than glass displays. Existing flexible OLED panels have a glass-covered window to the display which can shatter if severely impacted. Even in a 6 feet drop test, which is significantly higher than the USA military standard, the unbreakable panel operated normally with no sign of damage. The testing included several successive drops from 4 feet (1.2 meters) and a successful drop test from 6 feet (1.8 meters). The panel is also resistant to extreme temperatures, having been tested at 71-degrees Celsius (160-degrees Fahrenheit) and -32-degrees Celsius (-25.6 Fahrenheit). Also confirmed is that these flexible OLED panels will be used on smartphones and also in other electronic products including automobiles, mobile military devices, portable game consoles and tablet PCs. The image Samsung provided suggests the technology can be applied to flagship-size phone screens, but it didn't mention the resolution, brightness, or color-reproduction capabilities of the displays. This is an exciting move forward, though it's unlikely we could see the adoption of the unbreakable display as quickly as the new Note 9 or even the Galaxy S10 given that it was just certified.