October 7, 2013
LG Starts Production On Flexible OLED Smartphone Panel
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
LG Display has started mass production of its first flexible OLED panel for use in smartphones. This is the worldwide entry of flexible OLED panels in the category. It follows LG's introduction of OLED TV displays, which preceded a commercial rollout earlier this year.The flexible OLED display will be light and thin, compared to other displays on the market. LG Display says the flexible OLED panel is built on plastic substrates, whereas display panels are typically built on glass. The process is completed by applying film-type encapsulation technology and attaching the protection film to the back of the panel. LG claims the panel is bendable and unbreakable. "The new display is vertically concave from top to bottom with a radius of 700mm," said a corporate statement. The display is 0.44mm in thickness and weighs 7.2g for a six-inch screen.
"LG Display is launching a new era of flexible displays for smartphones with its industry-leading technology," said Dr. Sang Deong Yeo, executive vice president and CTO of LG Display, in a corporate statement. "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 design next year."
A forecast released by IHS Display Bank reports the global flexible display industry is expected to become a $1.5 billion market by 2016, and exceed $10 billion by 2019.
Flexible OLED displays are in the early stages of technological development, with advances yet to come. Still, other companies will likely follow LG in development and release of new products using the technology.
"I have not really seen a reason to have this curved screen except it's new and cool. Besides that, I don't see the value. Not yet anyway," industry analyst Jeff Kagan told redOrbit. "Then again, you never know. These things can take on a life of their own in some cases."
While the flexible OLED technology promises screens that can bend and flex at a user's whim, the first displays are likely to be rigid oncethey are placed in a product, OLED-Info.com says. There are still advantages to early adoption of flexible OLED displays. The displays will be lighter, thinner, and more durable than comparable glass displays. If used in an iPhone, for instance, there would be fewer cases of scratched or shattered displays.
Flexible OLED displays are somewhat distinct in their ability to be curved. It won't be long before LG sees competition on that front. Samsung is expected to introduce a smartphone with a curved display this month, Reuters reports.
"Curved displays are in the early stages of development and allow bendable or foldable designs that could eventually allow mobile and wearable gadgets to take new forms that could radically change the high-end smartphone market," Reuters said.
An LG smartphone using a flexible OLED display could be seen as early as next month, The Verge reports.