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LG bets big on flexible phone displays

business Updated: Jun 21, 2013 12:02 IST
Flexible displays

Confident that bendy screens will be the next big thing in tech, not only does LG plan to launch its first flexible display smartphone before the end of 2013 but will also start making the displays for other handset manufacturers from 2014 onwards.

Flexible displays are not a new thing -- the technology for their creation has been in play for many years. However, LG claims it has solved the problems that have prevented the screens from being mass-produced.

"We have completed the development of our first flexible displays. We will mass produce flexible displays from the fourth quarter of this year," the company said in a statement to The Korea Times.

But why should consumers get excited this? The biggest advantage flexible displays have over traditional mobile device screens is that they're practically unbreakable, due to their flexibility. The fact that they don't have to be perfectly flat and level in order to work will also open up new design opportunities -- how about an elliptical or cylindrical touchscreen phone rather than one that is perfectly rectangular? Other advantages include weight -- they are thinner and lighter than most existing high resolution screens -- and image.

LG claims that its displays are OLED (organic light emitting diode) -- so no need for back lighting -- and that they can support ultra-high-definition images. That is a huge jump from Apple's retina display and Samsung's AMOLED HD screens in terms of picture quality.

Indeed, LG is so confident that other manufacturers will rush to its door for flexible screens for their next flagship devices, that the company aims to produce 12,000 display panels a month, starting in 2014.

However, don't think that because LG has perfected the flexible display that within the next year the first flexible, foldable phones and tablets will be hitting the shelves. Battery technology is still very ‘stiff' and the development of flexible, foldable power cells is still very much in the research and development stage.