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Microsoft, Google, and Apple to buy LG's foldable OLED screens

by Mark Tyson on 19 December 2016, 16:01

Tags: LG Display

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News reports out of Korea claim that LG Display is readying foldable panels for "outward-folding smartphones". Sources speaking to the Korean ET News say that LG's display division has developed a working prototype of such a display and is working with the likes of Microsoft, Google, and Apple on devices designed to make use of such technology.

Foldable smartphone prototypes from Samsung have been seen previously but are yet to make it to market. It is said that LG has been relatively quiet as its technology in this area wasn't competitive. However, this latest Korean report says that LG Display is now happy with both the technical level and performance of its "out-foldable" displays and has courted third party device makers.

ET News predicts that Apple, Google and Microsoft will all seek to launch folding display smartphones in order to be seen as innovators, rather than low-level smartphone manufacturers. It is noted that the Microsoft device could help bridge laptops, tablets and smartphones with the folding screen mechanism. Windows 10's Continuum adaptability is a good fit for such transformations.

Another report covering this foldable display news, this time by The Korea Herald, talked about all Apple iPhone 8 OLED screens being curved. The Herald report said that the iPhone 8 screens would only be curvy rather than offer any physical folding - basically they will be similar to those seen on the Samsung Galaxy 'Edge' suffixed devices.

After seeing folding screen mechanism devices teased and leaked for quite some time it would be good to see products that are going to ship with such technology. Taking this greater form factor step, the Herald says that Microsoft, Google, and Apple may offer such devices with LG screens in 2018. Samsung won't step into foldable phones yet as "it would have to sell it at a big loss," added a Seoul National University professor, talking to the Herald.

HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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…To sell it for a load of cash despite it costing dirt cheap prices.

In other news televisions are still vastly overpriced. Same with monitors and tech growth is being held back due to $$$$$$
All the top players ??!!
LG is the dumbest smartphone company around.

They had a good thing in the G2. Small bezels = Big screen in small phone. They continued this winning idea with the LG G3 by making an industry defining 5.5 inch screen with tiny bezels AND adding a removable battery (at the perfect time when Samsung gave that up) for knowledgeable users who know that batteries die at the 12 to 18 month mark.

Then they screwed it all up completely. The G4 had a smaller screen, slightly bigger bezels. Reliability problems. Who wants that?

Then they made the G5 with an even smaller screen and bigger bezels. The modularity aside (great idea, sub-par execution), even if nobody wanted modularity, consumers would have bought it if the screen size was right and the battery was removable.

Now that they woke up and finally realised that people want 5.5" and above screen phones with minimal bezel as the mainstream daily driver, they want to introduce the G6 with last year's Snapdragon 820/821 and no removable battery, which is its sole differentiator in this industry where all other manufacturers screw customers with sealed batteries.

Who would want to buy LG G6 if it is just like everybody elses and worse? Samsung S8 is round the corner with the same water proofing and Snapdragon 835. Sealed battery phones are everywhere, its cheaper to buy from quality Chinese brands too like Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus.

Now they have a breakthrough foldable screen and instead of putting it in their own new LG phone product, they want to be a low margin component supplier instead. If LG is so incompetent in the phone business, they deserve to lose money and die already.
… they woke up and finally realised that people want 5.5" and above screen phones with minimal bezel as the mainstream daily driver …

“People”? Some people perhaps, but I hella don't want that. And I strongly suspect I'm not alone. The fact that most mobile phone manufacturers are driving ever larger screens isn't an indication of what customers want, because if a company doesn't make a smaller phone the customer doesn't have the choice of buying one, and most companies - even at the lower end of the market - aren't making phones much smaller than 5".

The mobile phone market has never really been driven by what customers want - at least in terms of hardware. It's driven by a mix of number-based marketing (bigger numbers == better phone, yay!) and developer support (no apps == no phone sales; cf. BB10 and Windows Phone).
If they're the only 1 making foldable screens in the mobile space it won't be low margin. Seems a smart move since aside from Apple & Samsung phone manufacturers don't really make a profit anyway. Much better to make guaranteed money on the component & let others take the financial risk of building, marketing & supporting the phone around it.

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