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LG spends £1.3bn on bendy screens for your next smartphone

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The future of smartphones?

LG is pouring huge amounts of cash into developing flexible screens for your next smartphone.

The company’s LG Display division has invested an incredible 1.99 trillion KRW – that’s about £1.3 billion or $1.75 billion – in a new production line in South Korea dedicated to creating flexible OLED displays. The company says it wants to “lead the approaching era of flexible OLED screens” for mobile devices.

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The new production line is called “E6”, and will be installed at LG’s P9 plant in Paju. Mass-manufacturing on the new line is set to begin in the second half of 2018, and will produce 15,000 sheets every month. LG hopes that flexible displays will eventually be used for rollable screens, foldable screens, and window displays.

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A paradigm shift to OLED represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the display industry,” said Dr. Sang-Beom Han, CEO of LG Display. “LG Display is determined to become the leader in the fast-growing OLED market through timely investments to maximise efficiency.”

LG was the first company to usher in large-size OLED screens back in 2013, and has since dominated the OLED TV sector. However, Samsung has made significantly greater headway in OLED smartphone screens. LG now hopes to recoup some of the market share from its South Korean rival.

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According to analysts at IHS DisplaySearch, the flexible OLED market is expected to grow quickly over the next few years. The company expects that global shipments will rise from 59 million in 2016 to an incredible 416 million by 2020.

It’s also rumoured that LG Display is hoping to woo Apple with its recent investments in mobile OLED screens. Apple is supposedly being courted by Samsung, but sources suggest that LG is keen to win a prized deal to produce displays for Apple’s (alleged) first-ever OLED smartphone – the iPhone 8, coming next year.

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