The company just sent us its details, and the specs are indeed breathtaking, who said that after 1080p mobile displays we couldn't get much more innovation in the field?
First off, the panel is made with a plastic, instead of a rigid glass substrate, meaning it is much less prone to braking, and can bend over backwards, literally. LG says it is concave from top to bottom, with 700mm radius, which opens a plethora of possibilities for phone designers in the first place. Not only that, but, as researcher Michael G. Helander, a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, advised us in our interview with him:
One of the big advantages of moving to flexible plastic substrates is not the flexible form factor, but rather that the displays can be made physically thinner. Currently, one of the bulkiest parts of a mobile display is the glass substrate itself. Note that the glass substrate the display is built on is different than the front glass on our cellphones. Typically, the display is fabricated separately and then glued to the front glass plate. The glass used to fabricate the display has to be thick enough to structurally support the display without cracking. Below a critical thickness the glass is just far too fragile to be effective, particularly with the ever-increasing size of mobile displays. The trick is to fabricate the AMOLED display on thin flexible plastic, and then laminate it to the front glass plate of the mobile device, typically made of Corning’s Gorilla Glass.
LG's flexible display panel official specification confirm what Michael is saying above, as the 6" screen package is just 0.44mm thin, and, since it is built with plastic instead of glass, it is also incredibly light at only 7.2g for the whole thing. These specs would be record for a mobile display, if it wasn't for Samsung announcing its 5.7" bendable OLED minutes after LG, and theirs is just 0.12mm thin, and 5.2g light. Bummer, but we should note that what LG unveiled is also the largest phone OLED screen produced, with the closest being the 5.7" screen on the Note 3, so LG still gets to keep that record.
LG doesn't mention other important aspects of the first 6" flexible display panel for mobile phones announced, such as resolution or brightness, so these might be nothing to write home about yet. What's most important, though, is the fact that this bendable OLED tech will allow for amazingly thin and light handset, which would on top of that be extra durable, compared to the current crop.
Yields might not be enough at first, at both Samsung and LG, but we can't wait to see the first birds of the flexible display phones spring - LG G Flex and Samsung Galaxy Round - to gauge what's in it for us in the not so distant future. The G Flex is expected next month, whereas the Galaxy Round should be unveiled as soon as this week.
LG Display Mass-Produce World’s First Flexible OLED Panel for Smartphones LG Display brings innovation to the smartphone market with cutting-edge panel
Seoul, Korea (Oct. 7, 2013) – LG Display [NYSE: LPL, KRX: 034220], the world’s leading innovator of display technologies, today announced that it will start mass-production of the world’s first flexible OLED panel for smartphones. This state-of-the-art panel represents another milestone following the company’s commercial rollout of the world’s first 55-inch OLED TV display earlier this year.
“LG Display is launching a new era of flexible displays for smartphones with its industry-leading technology,” said Dr. Sang Deog Yeo, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of LG Display. “The flexible display market is expected to grow quickly as this technology is expected to expand further into diverse applications including automotive displays, tablets and wearable devices. Our goal is to take an early lead in the flexible display market by introducing new products with enhanced performance and differentiated designs next year.”
LG Display’s flexible OLED panel is built on plastic substrates instead of glass. By applying film-type encapsulation technology and attaching the protection film to the back of the panel, LG Display made the panel bendable and unbreakable. The new display is vertically concave from top to bottom with a radius of 700mm, opening up a world of design innovations in the smartphone market. And only 0.44mm thin, LG Display’s flexible OLED panel is the world’s slimmest among existing mobile device panels. What’s more, it is also the world’s lightest, weighing a mere 7.2g even with a 6-inch screen, the largest among current smartphone OLED displays.
In March 2012 LG Display developed the world’s first 6-inch Electronic Paper Display (EPD) based on e-ink which utilizes a plastic backplane. Having previously showcased the world’s first curved 55-inch OLED TV panel at CES 2013, today’s announcement highlights the company’s leading position in advanced flexible display technologies.
According to research firm IHS Display Bank, the global flexible display industry will see dramatic growth and become a USD 1.5 billion market by 2016, exceeding USD 10 billion by 2019. LG Display plans to advance flexible display technologies and bring innovation to consumers’ daily lives with the introduction of rollable and foldable displays in various sizes.