There seems to be a race going on to be the first company to produce and bring flexible screens to the mass market, at least where two of the world’s biggest phone manufacturers, Samsung and LG, are concerned at least according to a report from ET News Korea.
Flexible (plastic-based) displays have been rumoured to be arriving in the market for a long time. Samsung have been one of the leading developers of the flexible screen technology, having first shown off prototypes of flexible panels at various trade shows for the last couple of years. According to ET News, both Samsung and LG Display divisions are attempting to achieve limited mass production of flexible panels this November. Samsung has reportedly been able to produce up to 1.5 million 5-6 inches panels a month so far, whilst LG could possibly churn out about 500,000 panels a month under “ideal conditions”.
As with any sort of new technologies, actual yields are likely to be far lower, meaning that the supply of plastic-based panels, which Samsung tend to use currently for their high end flagship devices, is going to be insufficient for either company to produce any sort of high-profile flagship device based on a flexible panel.
However, that said production capacity could be sufficient for a limited actual available series from either one or both companies, to showcase the potential of this new technology, with the view to ramp up production capacity if market response is positive.
It is somewhat expected that the “first generation” devices equipped with flexible panels won’t be exactly flexible themselves, but the flexible panels will be enclosed in a rigid glass format, almost similar to the Samsung Youm prototypes the company showed off at CES in January.
The main benefit that plastic-based panels will bring to the first-gen devices will ultimately be greater endurance as a plastic based panel won’t necessarily break, but the glass covering it still will under the right circumstances.
The added benefit will ultimately be that flexible panels are also thinner and lighter than their glass-based panels brothers, meaning that phone makers have more freedom to increase battery life, which is a bonus in and of itself, or pursue even thinner designs (similar to the Huawei Ascend P6).
So what are your thoughts of Samsung and LG battling it out to be the first to market with a flexible display device? Would you consider buying such a device or would you wait?