In just two years, we have gone from curved, like on the LG G Flex or in a smartwatch to foldable that we will see in the upcoming smartphones and tablets, and then finally to a rollable display that could serve many applications. What is so exciting, is that these foldable and rollable displays actually deliver a high-quality image.
The need for such displays in the near future is going to be phenomenal and have widespread applications from smartphones to watches to cars to TVs and so on. A person in the industry said, “Many businesses including Samsung Electronics will release foldable products in next year. Release of foldable Smartphones will create new demands in display market, which its growth is currently stagnant, and present new paradigm.” Market analyst HIS claims that the need for foldable displays will go from 0-percent this year to 24.4-percent in 2016 and eventually make up more than 50-percent of the displays by 2020.
All major display manufacturers are working on these designs – rumors are floating around that Samsung may have a foldable phone out in December – we have already seen videos of the device. Now the latest news from Korean IT site, ETNews, is that LG is preparing itself to mass-produce foldable display products for an unnamed global company. “It is likely [LG’s] first customer will be a global software (SW) business, and this business’s goal is to challenge Samsung Electronics’ and Apple’s strongholds in high-end Smartphone market with foldable Smartphones” and that the client “has not yet decided on timing to mass-produce foldable display products.”
The source claims that this customer did look at using Samsung Display to produce its product, but decided to go with LG Display, who was able to split the cost of the sizable investment to build facilities in Gumi, Kyeonbuk in South Korea. Last July, LG Display announced it would invest $900 million for a flexible OLED plant at Gumi. Testing has shown that the panel can be folded more than 100,000 times and show no deterioration and still maintain its performance. So the big question remains…who is this mysterious company in need of flexible displays and willing to absorb half the cost of a new facility?