Oct 07 AT 11:56 AM Dustin Earley 7 Comments

LG announces flexible displays coming next year


We’re still quite a ways off from getting a slap-bracelet smartwatch made out of nothing but an OLED display, but thanks to LG, we’re one step closer. Announced this morning in a brief press release, LG has begun manufacturing curved smartphone displays set to hit shelves by next year.

LG is excited to let you know it will be one of the first to market with a smartphone sporting a flexible, indestructible 6-inch OLED display. Manufactured using plastic substrates instead of glass, LG’s flexible displays are going to be thinner and lighter than existing displays, while hopefully still maintaining current quality standards.

LG was keen to leave out exactly what the company plans to do with 6-inch flexible displays, saying only that “differentiated designs” will hit the market next year. We’re excited to see what kind of innovations in design flexible displays will bring to the industry, but don’t expect much more than something like a curved smartphone or tablet. While the display may be flexible enough to be considered indestructible, other components found in smartphones are not. All in due time, perhaps.

LG isn’t the only company that will be making flexible displays. Samsung has long been demoing prototypes that show the company is committed to the new technology. If everything goes according to plan, we wouldn’t be surprised to see both LG and Samsung demoing real products with flexible displays at this coming CES.

Show Press Release
LG Display Mass-Produces World’s First Flexible OLED Panel for Smartphones

LG Display, the world’s leading innovator of display technologies, today announced that it will start mass-production of the world’s first flexible OLED panel for smartphones. This state-of-the-art panel represents another milestone following the company’s commercial rollout of the world’s first 55-inch OLED TV display earlier this year.

“LG Display is launching a new era of flexible displays for smartphones with its industry-leading technology,” said Dr. Sang Deog Yeo, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of LG Display. “The flexible display market is expected to grow quickly as this technology is expected to expand further into diverse applications including automotive displays, tablets and wearable devices. Our goal is to take an early lead in the flexible display market by introducing new products with enhanced performance and differentiated designs next year.”

LG Display’s flexible OLED panel is built on plastic substrates instead of glass. By applying film-type encapsulation technology and attaching the protection film to the back of the panel, LG Display made the panel bendable and unbreakable. The new display is vertically concave from top to bottom with a radius of 700mm, opening up a world of design innovations in the smartphone market. And only 0.44mm thin, LG Display’s flexible OLED panel is the world’s slimmest among existing mobile device panels. What’s more, it is also the world’s lightest, weighing a mere 7.2g even with a 6-inch screen, the largest among current smartphone OLED displays.

In March 2012 LG Display developed the world’s first 6-inch Electronic Paper Display (EPD) based on e-ink which utilizes a plastic backplane. Having previously showcased the world’s first curved 55-inch OLED TV panel at CES 2013, today’s announcement highlights the company’s leading position in advanced flexible display technologies.

According to research firm IHS Display Bank, the global flexible display industry will see dramatic growth and become a USD 1.5 billion market by 2016, exceeding USD 10 billion by 2019. LG Display plans to advance flexible display technologies and bring innovation to consumers’ daily lives with the introduction of rollable and foldable displays in various sizes.

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • LukeT32

    Without the rest of the components in a phone being flexible I don’t really see the point? Other then hopefully my screen doesn’t shatter when my phone is dropped on the corner again.

    • aranea

      Smartwatches that aren’t big squares is one major area where a flexible screen can be used.

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  • Bart

    The potential for new form factors (finally!) in a smartphone is very great. Once you no longer need to be restricted by a rigid display screen (which is/was probably the most influential on “square” (rectangle, whatever) form-factors, now the manufacturers can create scroll-like pens that contain a retractable screen; or a much smaller wallet-sized device that folds out into a tablet, or any number of other options. It really is too bad that the projector-like concepts never panned out–just too many hurdles with ambient light, the reflective quality of any particular surface, and other technical issues.

  • rashad360

    I think a slightly concave phone would be quite attractive, it would definitely look more organic and actually stand out in a sea of flat slab phones we are currently drowning in.

  • aranea

    Let me predict the future: about one year after LG (and probably Samsung) brings out phones with curved screens apple will bring out the “revolutionary” iphone B: a phone that is not flat and all i-sheeps will claim that LG copied apple :)

  • donger