Mobile Devices

The mobile device market has grown to include so much more than the portable radios and tape players of the 1960's. Even the "mobile phones" of the 1990's seem archaic compared to modern smartphones with 1 million times the processing power of the original main-frame computers. The availability of such immense computing power has driven not just the creation of countless new functional devices, it has also enabled dramatic improvements both device and user interface design (and driven ever higher customer expectations).

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Each year, mobile device makers are expected to deliver next-gen devices that incorporate new, often complex functionality, while becoming easier to use.

Advances in operating systems have accomplished much of this mission, however we are, in most cases still limited to the "box" as a form factor. Even smart watches and fitness bands, while curved, are not flexible and users must still use great care to avoid breakage. Wearable computing devices have yet to become truly wearable.

Flexible TCFs

To truly adapt to the lifestyles of today's mobile user, devices are going to have to be flexible, even if that manifests as a foldable display to increase viewing area (or reduce overall device size). New materials and new manufacturing techniques are replacing traditional composite PC boards with flex-circuits, gradually replacing each layer of these devices.

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In addition to being enabling, these new materials are, in any cases even easier and more cost effective to manufacture.

Among the most difficult challenges yet to be adequately overcome are the flexibility of the display and touch screen layers. Both components require conductivity and transparency levels which the incumbent material, ITO (Indium Tin Oxide), cannot provide on a flexible substrate. This is where the next generation of transparent conductive films will play a pivotal role with increased conductivity AND the ability to perform reliably on molded and/or flexible surfaces