LG 55-inch curved OLED television. (Photo : LG)
A new report says LG is working on an "unbreakable" OLED display for use in Apple and Google devices, as well as its own proprietary designs.
LG is shifting away from an unprofitable LCD business into OLEDs (organix light-emitting diodes), according to the Korea Times.
"LG Display will produce an 'unbreakable OLED display' -- the first phase of flexible displays -- at our AP2 line of the 4.5th-generation plant in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. The move was aimed at taking a lead over rivals in the race for next-generation displays," Frank Lee, a spokesperson for LG said.
LG has already pioneered a curved OLED television screen, so it seems a variety of form factors and shapes are possible for the technology. While the curved television is still rigid, it's one of the first steps toward making a flexible display.
Samsung is also pursuing the tech, but it has its hands in many other projects. LG's abandonment of LCDs means it is free to focus on OLEDs. In any case, competition between the two companies should spur plenty of rapid innovation.
Unfortunately, once a flexible display is actually developed, component shortages could keep supplies limited and prices high.
"While OLED panels are now commonly used in mobile devices, LG still faces potential bottlenecks in ensuring supplies for its smartphone affiliate," says the Korea Times. "Analysts have already warned that the next-generation displays cannot be produced quickly enough to meet demand, which likely means high prices for a low number of products."
Indeed, the curved OLED television retails for $13,500, while a comparably sized HDTV can be had for well under $1,000 at any big box retailer. Smartphones are already some of the most expensive tech consumers own, especially after factoring in loss, damage and quick replacement.
But a flexible display could come to be seen as an investment, as it should be more difficult to break.
Check back for more on the quest for flexible displays as it becomes available.