In the New Year, a large number of new devices mounted with flexible display will be introduced into the market.

The speed of ‘flexible display popularization’ is accelerating as the key makers are introducing a variety of smart watch and vehicle displays as well as smart phone panels of which the angles can be adjusted according to conditions or the viewing screen is implemented on three sides.

According to the industry on the 18th, key display makers, such as Samsung Display and LG Display, are increasing their contact points with set makers in order to expand customers and to accelerate technological development with a goal to dominate the next-generation flexible display market.

Samsung Display is consulting with Samsung Electronics over development and production of a smart phone to use both sides of the phone as a panel instead of narrowing the bezel. This is an evolved form of Galaxy Note Edge, which has only one of the sides designed as a curved panel. Samsung Display has already secured the related technologies and is forecast to decide the time of release according to the smart phone maker’s (Samsung Electronics) strategy. Samsung Display will attend CES 2015 to be held earlier next year in Las Vegas, U.S. Although it is not planning to open a separate exhibition area, Samsung Display will set up a private showroom where it will hold technical meetings with the management of key set makers.

LG Electronics has set out a policy to unveil G Flex 2 early next year. G Flex 2 will be mounted with a bendable display, according to a forecast. LG Display has already applied a bendable display to change the panel curvature to LG Electronics’ OLED TV. This company aims for differentiation by applying this technology to a smart phone model. LG Electronics has registered a memory alloy smart phone patent in the U.S. to change the panel curvature according to electric signals.

The diffusion of smart watch, a wearable device, is also an opportunity for the display industry. Apple is expected to release Apple Watch mounted with LG Display’s flexible panel at the end of the first quarter in the New Year. In addition, it is forecast that Japan’s Sony, which has been releasing new smart phone models earlier in the year, and China’s Xiaomi and Huawei will release their next smart phone and smart watch models early next year. The likelihood that a majority of these models will be applied with flexible panels has been raised.

Vehicular display is another main market for the flexible panel. Key display makers are negotiating central information display (CID), cluster and monitor supply with the leading carmakers by focusing on the automotive display market as the main target. To provide design differentiation, these companies need the flexible panel support.

Flexible display market is still in its initial stage, and thus the market dominance is important. The industry forecasts that the flexible display market will open fully around one or two years later.

To seize the opportunity, display makers need more elaborate technological evolutions, such as to bendable and foldable panels in addition to the curved. The fact that display is inherently a component rather than a finished product must also be taken into consideration. It is important to secure the ‘small quantity patch production’ system that meets the set makers’ strategies and demands. Ultimately, they need to increase flexible devices. For this, a link with not only the panels, but also batteries, exterior materials and components is important.

“Key display makers are accelerating new technology development, such as for a flexible transparent display, by improving the plastic OLED technology and the bending angle in order to become the next market leader,” said a high-ranking official from display industry. “At the same time, they are actively proposing product designs and differentiated functions using their flexible panels to the smart phone, TV and automotive set makers.”

Kim Seung-gyu |