Wall Street Journal - Samsung is pushing ahead with plans to start mass production of displays using plastic rather than glass, a move that will make mobile devices unbreakable, lighter and bendable.
Samsung's display unit, Samsung Display Co., is in the last phase of development of so-called flexible displays for mobile devices, which are expected to be released in the first half of next year, a person familiar with the situation said.
It is still unclear when devices using the technology will be available commercially, and Samsung declined to comment on how much it is investing in the displays. Samsung is already sampling the displays with “a few customers.”
Samsung is planning to start mass production of smartphone screens using bendable plastic rather than glass. The WSJ's Yun-Hee Kim talks about Samsung's experiment with flexible technology and why this can lower costs.
Samsung's flexible displays will incorporate OLEDs, a display technology that the South Korean company is already using in its smartphones and television sets.
OLEDs are thin and can be put on flexible material such as plastic or metal foil. By using plastic rather than glass, they make the displays more durable and light. Flexible OLEDs have been in the development phase for many years, and companies including Sony of Japan and LG Display of South Korea also have launched prototypes. However, manufacturers haven't been able to commercialize them or use them in devices due to technological barriers in mass production. Samsung hopes it will be first to bring the product to the market.
Samsung's push has taken on more urgency, because other display makers are also moving to introduce different screen technologies for cellphones and tablets. Sharp of Japan and LG Display are already selling liquid-crystal displays with technology used for the screens of Apple iPhone 5. The "in cell" technology makes the smartphone's screen thinner by integrating touch sensors into the liquid crystal display, eliminating the need for a separate touch-screen layer.
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