LG Display partners Apple, Google and Microsoft to build foldable display panels

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In a few years from now, some of your favorite flagship devices could come with a flexible and foldable display. LG Display, the display arm of the South Korea-based smartphone maker, which has been building experimental display from magnetic TV wallpaper TV to a bendable, double-sided display that can be rolled up like a newspaper, has reportedly tied up with industry bigwigs such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft to develop foldable OLED panels. Other than these companies, the smartphone division of LG is also on board to build such a display. By far, Samsung is expected to be the pioneer in the field of bendable smartphone displays with rumors hinting at a commercial launch of such a display as soon as next year when the company launches the anticipated Galaxy S8 smartphone.

LG Display has been long working on bendable panels meant for smartphones and has also showed some prototype units. However, following the latest partnership, mass production of devices with foldable displays doesn’t seem to be a distant dream anymore. According to a report on ETNews, Samsung Display and LG Display will compete against each other in order to grab an upper hand in the market for foldable displays. Despite the fact that the new partnership could result in a flagship device such as the Apple
iPhone with a foldable display, some analysts believe that it would, in fact, be Samsung to mass produce flexible displays owing to its experience in the field.

Earlier rumors hinted at Samsung being the sole supplier of flexible displays to Apple. However, given its inability to deliver massive demands for the projected 2017 iPhone, there were indications about Apple moving to alternative suppliers for the flexible display. Although there is no indication if the partnership between LG Display and other manufacturers could bear results immediately, the report does hint at the upcoming Apple iPhone, dubbed iPhone 8, as one of the first products to emerge from the collaboration given that Google is a recent entrant in the smartphone segment and Microsoft ’s focus is more prominent in the hybrid PC segment.

The flexible OLED panel rumored for the 2017 iPhone doesn’t necessarily mean a truly foldable display but one that could be curved in appearance, something which Samsung introduced when it first launched the Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone. A recent WSJ report said that Apple had asked its suppliers to increase output of thinner Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) and submit prototype screens with better resolution than ones from Samsung to differentiate its models. The company also has a number of patents on the use of flexible display technology. While other suppliers such as Japan Display and Sharp have also been rumored to become potential partners, Apple has an edge due to LG’s previous research and experience in display technologies beyond just curved displays.

Earlier this year it was reported that Samsung could launch a foldable 5-inch smartphone in 2017. The smartphone, which uses OLED display, could be turned into a 7-inch tablet when opened. Now, it will be interesting to see whether Samsung is again the first one to launch a foldable display smartphone or Apple is able to claims the throne this time with the help of LG Display.

LG Display partners Apple, Google and Microsoft to build foldable display panels
 
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