LG’s display-making arm is said to be gearing up to kick off volume production of foldable displays for future iPhones, said Korean news outlet ETNews. In addition to Apple, LG Display should supply foldable displays to Google and Microsoft in 2018. LG-developed foldable display prototypes were of sufficient quality for the company to secure global manufacturers as its partners.
Apple, Google and Microsoft were listed as first buyers of LG Display’s foldable displays, the report said. Apple has multiple patents detailing mobile devices with foldable screens and is thought to bring to market its first OLED-based iPhone next fall. On the downside, LG still has to solve yield issues related to volume production of flexible OLED panels.
The company may lack the experience to overcome those issues, unlike Samsung which has been making flexible AMOLED panels for its Galaxy smartphones for years now and is thought to be responsible for more than 90 percent of global AMOLED panel market.
“South Korean panel manufacturers have set goal of performance of their foldable panels significantly high.” said a representative of an industry. “Because they achieved most of results that correspond to their goals, it will not be too long before they start mass-producing their products after going through little bit of supplementation.”
Chinese firms Lenovo and Oppo recently unveiled prototypes of foldable panels of their own, but the level of perfection of their technologies is said to be very low. Flexible screens contain parts that are bendable and use films that replace cover glasses.
LG is reportedly developing these foldable displays in partnership with Apple, Google and Microsoft. The South Korean company showed off its seven-inch foldable display during CES 2013 and has since created prototypes of foldable screens that can be rolled up like a newspaper or opened like a book.
Apple has used LG-made flexible panels on all Apple Watch models.
Photo: LG’s foldable five-inch AMOLED panel.