Flexible displays appear to be inching closer to reality. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Samsung is in "the last phase of development of so-called flexible displays for mobile devices." These displays will be made from plastic rather than glass, the story says, and plans for mass production are moving forward. The first products are expected in the first half of next year.
Interestingly, creating flexible devices doesn't appear to be Samsung's primary motivation for producing displays using plastic rather than glass. An analyst quoted in the WSJ contends that improved durability is the real driving factor—no more shattered smartphone screens. Plastic displays should be lighter than their glass-based counterparts, too, and they could be cheaper to manufacture.
Until flexible displays can be folded or rolled to shrink the footprint of portable devices, I'm not sure they have much appeal for consumer products. Bendable screens might make for great tech demos, but you need a lot of flexibility to do anything really interesting. Just about anyone should be able to appreciate a lighter and more durable screen on their mobile device of choice, though. I'm curious to see how plastic displays stand up to real-wold abuse and, more importantly, whether the change in materials has any impact on picture quality.