Soon: Mobile Phones With Flexible Screens

 In Mobile Industry

Mobile phones with flexible organic light-emitting diode screens could soon be heading your way LG Display Co. said Monday it will showcase a five-inch flexible OLED display at the Society for Information Display exhibition this week in Canada.

While visitors to this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas are likely to have seen mobile devices with flexible screens when fellow Korean company Samsung Electronics Co. unveiled prototypes, such next-generation screens are a first for LG.

This is the latest push by LG affiliates to market their OLED technology, which so far has been mainly used for LG’s television products LG Electronics began taking orders for 55-inch curved screen OLED TVs in late April following the launch of flat screen models in January. LG Display supplies the screens.

LG, which has refrained from using OLED technology for its mobile devices, is poised to take a leap into flexible OLED screens from traditional liquid crystal display screens.

Analysts say OLED technology has an advantage over LCDs when it comes to flexible screens, which is presumably reason behind the company’s decision to move on to OLED for mobile devices.

LG Electronics, which took the third place in the global smartphone race in the first quarter after Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc., said during an earnings briefing in April that it will introduce a smartphone model featuring a flexible OLED screen in the fourth quarter.

“Recent trends indicate that the small- and medium-sized display market is moving toward high resolution and low power consumption, and the large panel market to OLED and Ultra HD,” Yeo Sang-Deok, LG Display’s chief technology officer, said in a statement. He added that LG Display is ready to meet the “rapid need for new display advancements.”

Product differentiation has become increasingly challenging for handset makers in the smartphone arena, with second-tier handset makers including LG chasing industry leaders’ hardware and software with alacrity.

Industry observers said flexible screens will likely breathe life into an industry where slightly better screens and faster chips have become commonplace.

However, manufacturers have to overcome some technology hurdles before they can mass-produce smartphones with flexible screens that users can roll and bend freely.

Analysts say “bendables” and “rollables” are the next steps in display technology, because screens can’t be truly flexible otherwise. The flexible-screen smartphone that LG plans to introduce later this year will have unbreakable plastic screens, which are considered the first-stage for flexible displays.

Samsung and LG have both been pushing for flexible-screen devices. The screens are designed to be shatter-proof and lighter than other types of displays. Samsung hasn’t disclosed when it could launch smartphones with flexible screens.

Article from The Wall Street Journal written by Min-Jeong Lee

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