The 'next big thing' we will see in the smartphone world will be the advent of flexible or foldable displays – and if rumors have it correct, we will be seeing them sometime in 2017. Samsung has shown foldable devices in videos for over a year and has really been a regular at the patent office filing new ideas on foldable displays. Not to be outdone by their home country's rival, it seems that LG has been developing foldable displays for quite a while as well. Earlier this month, LG Display started bringing equipment to its Gumi facilities to begin producing 6th generation plastic OLEDs. The plastic base allows for this flexibility for OLEDs to be bendable, flexible, and foldable – even a rollable display. This production in Gumi is slated to start in the first half of 2017.
Smartphone sales are slowly becoming stagnant as the market becomes saturated with the same basic design from all of the manufacturers. Samsung Display and LG Display have been working with plastic OLEDs for a while now, trying to make that next great product. The flexible or foldable display solves so many dilemmas for the user – we want to carry around a smaller device, but we also want to use a larger display for reading, web surfing, video watching, or gaming – the foldable display satisfies us in both areas. Even the IT industry is interested in the use of foldable displays for many different applications from televisions to the health field to military applications. Development of flexible displays has progressed significantly within the walls of Samsung and LG.
LG first established a task force to look into flexible displays, and it then transferred the foldable display project from its research institute to its developmental department. Once in the developmental department, LG is working on commercializing their foldable display. An insider has been noted stating that LG is developing foldable displays that can be folded inside or outside. LG is also working on a smartphone that can turn into a tablet-sized device once it spread open. LG Display made an agreement to license Canada's IGNIS OLED circuit technology to develop further their foldable displays. It will be interesting to see how the foldable display is introduced and just how useful it will become. Samsung and LG are certainly in a race to see which company can get their display out to the public the quickest.