LG Display will jack up investment on next-generation mobile screens based on Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) technology as its top customer Apple Inc. prepares to adopt these ultra-thin, power-saving screens for iPhones “as early as 2017,” Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
LG Display CEO Han Sang Beom admitted being late to the OLED party, though he’s expecting the technology to take off in the next few years as more and more mobile device vendors ditch traditional LCD screens for OLEDs.
“It’s true that we were late in OLED investment for smaller electronics devices compared to that of televisions,” he said at a company event. “It’s undeniable that flexible OLEDs are now the mega-trend in the mobile segment and we will have to embrace that.”
In addition to slowing iPhone sales, LG Display has been pinched by strong competition from Chinese panel suppliers, too. The #1 producer of LCD screens, LG Display is also developing foldable displays.
For the time being, however, the company will continue to rely on LCDS “because our revenue from OLEDs still accounts for less than ten percent” of our total, Han said. “We’ve never thought about giving up LCD, but we are considering gradually closing the older generation fabs.”
Rival Samsung Display recently started to halt several older LCD lines as it looks to boost AMOLED screen production capacity.
LG Display supplies flexible OLED panels for the Apple Watch, currently the sole Apple product to utilize OLED technology. LG Display also provides traditional LCD IPS panels for the iMac and the recently discontinued Thunderbolt Display.
According to the rumor-mill, Apple’s next iPhone in September or a tenth anniversary model in 2017 will adopt OLED screens. Additionally, a rumored MacBook Pro refresh is said to include an OLED touch bar with programmable software-based buttons replacing the top row of physical function keys on the keyboard.
OLED screens require less power than LCDs because they don’t require a backlight. OLED technology also claims better visibility at direct sunlight, higher color saturation, deeper blacks and other perks.